IONA Purchases Netfish Technologies (And Much, Much More)

  • Written By: M. Reed
  • Published: March 20 2001

IONA Purchases Netfish Technologies (And Much, Much More)
M. Reed - March 20, 2001

Event Summary

As the last step in a long list of acquisitions, IONA Technologies (NASDAQ: IONA) has purchased Netfish Technologies, a provider of integrated XML-based B2B process collaboration solutions. The total consideration of 5.5 million shares of IONA common stock, approximately $270 million based on IONA's closing price of $49.0625 per share on February 14, 2001, to be accounted for as a purchase. This acquisition, along with six others including the Sagavista EAI technology from Software AG (which had recently purchased Saga Systems), completes IONA's strategy to create a Total Business Integration solution, a standards-based, end-to-end, e-business platform known as the IONA Suite. IONA is a pioneer in the ORB and CORBA (Common Object Request Broker Architecture) market with its flagship Orbix product. Orbix also includes IONA's Adaptive Runtime Technology (ART), one of the foundations of the IONA Suite.

Netfish's flagship product offering is the Netfish XDI Product Suite, a B2B integration platform that integrates diverse business systems and controls to manage cross-enterprise information exchange. The XDI Product Suite automates shared business processes in a workflow-driven, collaborative, real-time fashion, and provides services such as security, exception handling and acknowledgements. Netfish's XDI system has been built from the ground up using open standards such as Java and XML. It is complementary to, and will be further integrated into the IONA Suite to extend the IONA Suite's integration and development capabilities across the Internet, helping organizations create truly integrated trading alliance connections.

"IONA's customers that are connecting enterprise applications and extending them to partners and suppliers are managing some of the largest application integration projects in the world," said Barry Morris, IONA's CEO. "Many of these customers express the desire to work with one vendor that can offer a single e-business platform to address all of their needs. The combination of IONA's and Netfish's products will meet these needs and establish IONA as the only e-business platform vendor with a single, end-to-end solution."

Market Impact

IONA has been on an acquisition binge for the last two years. Companies and technologies acquired are:

Company Aquired Capability
EJBHome J2EE Application Server technology and Java expertise
Watershed Technologies Portal Server technology and XML expertise
Genesis Development Corporation Consultants specializing in complex distributed computing
Suplicity technology Business Process Automation
Object Oriented Concepts (OOC) CORBA technology and a highly respected embedded ORB technology (ORBacus). This acquisition expands IONA's dominance in the CORBA market
Technology from Software AG Sagavista EAI technology, acquired by Software AG with the purchase of Saga Systems, parent company of Saga Software
Netfish Technologies B2B integration, support for a variety of XML dialects and standards

The market for one-stop shopping in the EAI and business integration spaces is growing exponentially. Many of IONA's competitors are faced with the make-or-buy decision to allow them to include most of these same technologies in the product sets. As is becoming obvious with the recent spate of mergers and acquisitions, (in addition to IONA's moves, Sybase purchased New Era of Networks, webMethods and Active Software merged, Auxilium was purchased by Parametric Technology, and more) it is getting to the point where there will be no more vendors to absorb, at least not smaller ones. That leaves the remaining vendors who wish to jump on this particular bandwagon in the unenviable position of having to write the new code themselves. This could cause them potentially fatal delays in time-to-market.

User Recommendations

Customers evaluating EAI and integrated B2B solutions should consider IONA. Companies should keep in mind that IONA has acquired a large number of new technologies and employees in a relatively short time, and will need to expend a lot of effort to complete the absorption.

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