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Business Objects Nabs Acta For $65M

French business intelligence (BI) software maker Business Objects Tuesday said it has signed an agreement to acquire a data integration vendor based in the Silicon Valley.

The deal involves Mountain View, Calif.-based Acta Technology, Inc. in a cash transaction worth about US $65.0 million. If everything goes as planned, the acquisition should resolve by the third quarter of 2002. Business Objects says it expects to begin making money off the deal by early 2003.

Privately held Acta was founded in 1996 and has more than 230 customers including Alcatel, Chevron, Guinness Limited, Hunter-Douglas, Maxtor, Nortel Networks, Shell, and Unilever. Company co-founder and chief technology officer, Sachin Chawla and vice president of engineering, Chuck Altomare are expected to stay on with Business Objects as well as key members of the Acta engineering, sales, service, and marketing teams.

"With the integration of our two product sets, Business Objects will be able to offer our customers a total solution for business intelligence, from data extraction to analytic application delivery, and everything in between," said Business Objects CEO Bernard Liautaud. "Until now, we have relied on partners to complete our solutions. While we will continue to work with all the data integration tools on the market, with the acquisition of Acta we will be able to pre-integrate our applications and tools with Acta's leading data integration technology in order to deliver faster deployments, faster payback, and faster return on investment for our customers."

Business Objects' applications are targeted for a variety of environments, including client/server, extranets, and the Internet. The software lets companies not only analyze and improve decision making within enterprises, but also with trading partners, suppliers, and distributors. The company's software is compatible with database products from Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft.

In addition, Acta offers a collection of application data marts that accelerate customer deployments of BI against enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications, such as SAP R/3 and PeopleSoft.

Packaged data marts are one of the fastest growing segments of the BI business, according to industry research firm IDC.

Business Objects says it intends to market these packaged data marts (formerly known as eCaches) and to fold them into its family of packaged analytic applications.

"Ultimately, this acquisition is about providing our customers with complete BI solutions that integrate data across the scores of packaged and custom-developed applications that they use today. In so doing, we will be able to enable our customers to get powerful insights from their corporate information and improve business performance," said Liautaud.