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Informix to Acquire Ardent Software-Another Vendor's Attempt at End-to-End Data Warehousing

Written By: M. Reed
Published On: December 8 1999

Event Summary

"MENLO PARK, Calif. and WESTBORO, Mass.-December 1, 1999-Informix (NASDAQ: IFMX), the technology leader in the software infrastructure for the i.Economy, and Ardent Software (NASDAQ: ARDT), the leading provider of data integration infrastructure software for data warehouse, business intelligence, and e-business applications, today announced that they have reached a definitive agreement to combine their operations in a transaction valued, on a fully diluted basis, at approximately $880 million, based on the closing price of Informix common stock on November 30, 1999. The combination accelerates the strategies of both companies and creates a $1 billion market leader in open software infrastructure for the i.Economy."

According to Jean-Yves Dexmier, president and chief executive officer of Informix, "In today's i.Economy, businesses must continually update their product offerings and business processes to remain competitive. The Web is where customers, partners and prospects go to obtain information, buy products and get support. When competition is just a click away, speed, convenience and a personalized experience are a distinct advantage that can only be gained by directly linking what you offer to what you know about your audience's needs and preferences. The combination of Informix and Ardent is so compelling because it creates the market leader for the business intelligence infrastructure that makes this integration possible." "This transaction also represents a significant step in Informix's transformation to a provider of open, database-independent solutions. Ardent's components and solutions will continue to be marketed independently of the underlying database technology. This is a clear demonstration of our commitment to be the leader in the open software infrastructure for the i.Economy."

Market Impact

Informix has been losing market share and presence in the database arena, and has decided to reinvent itself as an e-commerce solution company. Ardent Software has allowed itself to be acquired by a company that was widely regarded as failing, partially to gain access to Informix's worldwide sales and support organization (Informix has a policy of 24x7 "follow the sun" worldwide support), and Informix has paid a large premium for the company. Ardent can also leverage Informix's loyal customer base and its' ability to manage large accounts. Informix gains a well-managed company with a very successful product that includes extract/transform/load and data cleansing capabilities. Only time will tell how successful this combination will be. Ardent has always been database independent, and Informix has stated that that Ardent will remain that way, but we feel that customers may now have the perception that Ardent is in some way tied to Informix databases. This is likely to affect Ardent's sales cycles, at least in the short term. It would also be wise for Informix to allow the current Ardent management to retain control over the DataStage portion of the business, as they have been very successful to date, and understand their market space well.

User Recommendations

Ardent DataStage is a strong offering, but we recommend that customers who can afford to wait for Extract/Transform/Load tool selections give this merger some time to be completed. It always takes time for vendors to integrate their research & development, sales, and marketing staffs and resume normal operations.

 
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