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Symphony's $465M Hummingbird Buy

Symphony Technology Group agreed to purchase Hummingbird Ltd., one of the last large standalone makers of enterprise content management (ECM) software, for $465 million in cash.

Tennenbaum Capital Partners said it would invest $135 million to finance the transaction. Symphony, a Palo Alto, Calif., holding company, expects to close the deal in July.

The purchase will bring cash to shareholders, according to a statement from Fred Sorkin, Hummingbird's chairman and co-founder.

"This transaction will, on closing, generate an immediate cash return for Hummingbird shareholders and will allow the company to continue to focus on delivering leading ECM and network connectivity solutions for the benefit of our other stakeholders," said Sorkin.

Symphony did not specify what it would do with Hummingbird once the deal is consummated.

With 1,400 employees, Hummingbird is one of the last large makers of software that manages and stores large amounts of corporate data in repositories.

The ECM sector thinned considerably, the result of some consolidation among vendors interested in grabbing a larger piece of the multi-billion-dollar ECM pie, which research firms such as Gartner and IDC say IBM leads.

EMC bought Documentum and Captiva in the past few years.

Open Text bought Ixos Software in 2003.

FileNet and Interwoven remain two of the last few large vendors in the ECM space, competing with IBM, EMC and Microsoft.