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ATG Pockets Primus

Adding new technology and customers, e-commerce software maker ATG will pay approximately $30 million for customer service specialist Primus .

The deal is expected to close by year's end, pending approval of shareholders and regulators. When it does, Primus shareholders will own approximately 30 percent of the combined company.

Product lines will be integrated in phases, with most of the work completed by the middle of next year. The companies' applications are built on the same standards, so engineers don't anticipate too much difficulty in the project.

The combined software suite will join ATG's e-commerce and marketing tools with Primus' Web self-service, e-mail response management and natural language search tools.

"Our customers want a single, integrated suite," Bob Burke, ATG's CEO, said in a conference call with industry analysts Wednesday.

And only a handful of Primus' 225 enterprise customers are also ATG customers, giving the merged company the opportunity to cross-sell and up-sell, Burke added.

Following the merger, ATG will be able to save between $10 million and $15 million on IT, real estate and staffing, Burke said. Details of the plan were not disclosed.

Industry watchers have been expecting consolidation in the customer service and support industry, because large corporate customers are looking for one-stop shopping.

ATG expects to add two members to its board of directors, bringing the total to nine board members. Michael Brochu, Primus' CEO, and Daniel Regis, chairman of Primus' audit committee, will become directors.



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