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Siebel Helps Customers With Latest Buy

Siebel Systems announced this morning that it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase e-billing provider edocs. When the deal closes, Siebel will acquire 180 edocs employees, intellectual property and customer relationships of some 116 companies.

Natick, Mass.-based edocs' e-billing and customer self-service software solutions helps comprise a market that Siebel was keen to enter. Edocs products are based on the J2EE architecture, which Siebel CEO Michael Lawrie said was consistent with the company's development strategy.

"By acquiring one of the leading players in this space, Siebel systems will be able to capitalize on the growing $3 billion market for e-billing and online self service," Siebel said in a conference call. "Online self service is the fastest growing customer care channel and is really a top investment priority across many industries for a very good reason, because it allows companies to improve customer services while reducing operation cost.

"The proposed acquisition will also strengthen Siebel's position as a leading provider of multi-channel, customer-facing solutions by adding the industry's most comprehensive customer self-service solution to our integrated CRM and business intelligence offerings," Lawrie added.

He noted that the acquisition was consistent with Siebel's strategy to offer a broader range of front-office solutions to its customers, adding that, as a result of the acquisition, the company would be the only CRM player that offered CRM, business intelligence and e-billing solutions.

The deal is worth at least $115 million, with the potential for additional payments in 2006 based on undisclosed contractual milestones. Siebel and edocs expect it to close early in the first quarter of 2005.

The Siebel purchase ends a big ERP week, with Oracle's PeopleSoft acquisition. Some analysts have speculated that the greatest impact of the Oracle/PeopleSoft merger may be its effect on other software companies like Siebel, which could become a takeover target.

Siebel recently expanded its partnerships with IBM and Microsoft.