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Verticalnet Buy Supplies Consulting Expertise

In a merger of supply chain specialists, software maker Verticalnet has purchased privately held consulting firm Tigris Corp. for about $9.2 million in cash and stock.

For Verticalnet, of Malvern, Pa., the acquisition is expected to double its 2004 revenue and triple its customer base. The combined company will operate under the Verticalnet name.

There will be no layoffs and the combined company now has about 120 employees (60 from each firm), a Verticalnet spokesman said.

Verticalnet expects a rapid integration. The two companies have already begun combining sales, marketing and administrative functions.

Brent Habig, founder and CEO of New York's Tigris, will join Verticalnet as an executive vice president of sales and consulting. Habig's company helps clients get the most from their supply chain dollars, finding ways to handle tasks like packaging and transportation more efficiently.

Both firms focus on enterprise customers. The combined customer list includes: Cadbury-Schweppes, Georgia-Pacific, IKEA, Lowes, Nabisco, Pharmacia, Procter & Gamble, Sears, Wyeth and Unilever.

A recent Capital Consulting & Management survey found rising demand for supply chain services. Of 400 purchasing and supply management professionals surveyed, two-thirds of respondents said they were pursuing initiatives to improve their "spend analysis" tools and capabilities.

A separate study by Aberdeen Group concluded that insufficient analysis of supply chains costs businesses $260 billion in missed savings annually.

Verticalnet's buy comes on the heels of a private placement of its stock with institutional investors that raised $6.7 million.