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Business Objects Fills BI Hole For $300M

Business Objects  today moved to fill a big hole in its business intelligence (BI) software portfolio, aiming to acquire enterprise performance management (EPM) software maker Cartesis S.A. for $300 million in cash.

Cartesis' product portfolio triggers financial reporting, statement consolidations and planning tasks. The Spanish company, which raked in $125 million in sales in the last 12 months, recently began offering customers a governance, risk and compliance application to help meet corporate accounting regulations.

The move is Business Objects' strategic counter to Oracle's  $3.3 billion purchase of Hyperion Solutions, which was largely considered the top EPM provider in the market.

Oracle, which had little traction in EPM before the deal, essentially vaulted into competition with Business Objects and Cognos .

EPM is considered a core part of a complete BI suite to help company managers assess the health of their businesses, as well as the performance of employees. Business managers such as CFOs use EPM to achieve deeper penetration and understanding of the company's fiscal health, and adapt quickly to market conditions.

Business Objects CEO John Schwarz told internetnews.com Cartesis is the next logical step in fortifying the company's enterprise performance solutions for the CFO.

In its quest to become a household name in EPM, Business Objects acquired budgeting and planning software provider SRC Software two years ago and profitability management specialist ALG Software last year.

Cartesis' financial reporting and consolidation applications flesh out the company's EPM suite, Schwarz said.

"The ability to consolidate financial information using regulatory reporting and to bring financial data from divisions and operating units of the company together under one umbrella was the piece that was missing, and it was the one area that used to give Hyperion an edge over us in this performance-management market," Schwarz said in a phone interview Monday morning.

"We are now fully armed and ready to go and do battle with anybody in the marketplace."

Schwarz allowed that there will be some overlap between the SRC and Cartesis planning assets, but he said it would be minimal. Cartesis offers planning and reporting from the top of the business on down, he said; SRC's assets are more for departmental or unit-level planning.

He said he expects the planning assets of SRC or Cartesis to replace the other in the future.

Business Objects will offer its BI and EPM platforms together and separately to afford customers flexibility of choice. Schwarz said this move will ensure that the CIO does not have to struggle to figure out how the EPM applications that the CFO acquires work with the Business Objects BI infrastructure.

Should the deal close in the next 90 days as expected, Business Objects will also gain Cartesis' 1,300 customers, including Air France KLM, Cargill and Nissan, as well as roughly 600 new employees.

Cartesis will become part of the Business Objects Enterprise Performance Management product line organization, with the integration led by Mark Doll, senior vice president and general manager of global services and EPM for Business Objects, and Cartesis CEO Didier Benchimol.