Sterling Commerce for $1.4 billion. It is IBM's largest acquisition since purchasing Cognos in 2007 for $922 million.IBM is buying
The acquisition of the AT&T company is intended to complement IBM's middleware portfolio and help customers develop more intelligent business networks. Gartner believes the acquisition is a complement to IBM's acquisition of Cast Iron Systems a few weeks ago.
The transaction environment is undergoing rapid change as customers increasingly make purchases online and through electronic systems via any number of indirect channels. IBM's expectation is that Sterling Commerce will simplify the way organizations connect and communicate with partners, customers and suppliers through an on-premise infrastructure or cloud delivery model.
Sterling Commerce provides business transaction, selling and fulfillment software. IBM's goal is to accelerate IBM's efforts to capture more share in the business integration software and services market.
Gartner's Benoit Lheureux says the acquisition shows the deepening interest in the B2B space:
"We're already working on a consolidated response to this acquisition as well, but shooting from the hip here's a few initial reactions:
* Acquired by IBM WebSphere group, along with Cast Iron, Lombardi, etc. -- they're decisively assembling a lotta B2B horsepower
* The WebSphere group now has even *more* integration software -- hey, has anyone seen my software roadmap GPS?
* Sterling Collaborative Network + Cast Iron Cloud == A viable integration as a service offering for both traditional ecommerce & Cloud services
* The WebSphere group now has a bunch of Apps -- some inherently multi-enterprise Apps -- that's a lot *on top* of application infrastructure
* IBM has pitched this acquisition in the context of "Dynamic Business Networks" -- more expansive, but builds upon business process networks"
Gartner estimates the market is $5 billion. It is growing at 10% annual rate.
IBM is spending aggressively to expand its offerings. The company is on pace to spend $20 billion in acquisitions by 2015.