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Business Objects To Buy Crystal Decisions

The business-intelligence vendor says Crystal Decisions' products complement its own, and the acquisition will create a broader product line.
Business-intelligence software vendor Business Objects SA is acquiring Crystal Decisions Inc., a privately held developer of enterprise reporting software, in a stock and cash deal valued at approximately $820 million, the two companies said late Friday.

Adding Crystal Decisions' sales to its own will make Business Objects a $730 million company. Crystal Decisions grew 30% in 2002 and reported sales of $270 million for the 12 months ended in March. Approximately 14 million user licenses of Crystal Decisions' reporting software have been sold to more than 25,000 customers, including many through reseller deals with industry heavyweights Microsoft, PeopleSoft, and SAP.

Business Objects says Crystal Decisions' products are complementary to its own and will create a broad product line. While Crystal Decisions' reporting software is deployed to knowledge workers and "mass consumers" of reports, Business Objects has aimed sales of its own query and reporting software at business analysts and so-called "power users." More recently, it has been targeting executives with its business-performance management, scorecard, and dashboard applications.

The companies expect to complete the buyout during the fourth calendar quarter of this year. The deal must be approved by Business Objects shareholders and is subject to regulatory review. The Crystal Decisions buyout comes one year after Business Objects acquired Acta Technology Inc., a supplier of data extraction and transformation software, for $65 million. Earlier this year, Crystal Decisions had disclosed its own plans to go public, although no specific timetable had been set.

Business Objects also revealed preliminary financial results for its second quarter ended June 30, with sales of $127 million to $129 million and earnings of 17 to 18 cents per share. Final results will be reported July 31.