Sybase in $95.2M Mobile Software Play

Sybase Friday moved to shore up its mobile software
offerings Friday by agreeing to acquire XcelleNet, which makes software to
help workers manage information from for wireless devices and remote
locations, for $95.2 million in cash.


The Dublin, Calif.-based database software maker, which also announced
preliminary earnings, will integrate XcelleNet into its iAnywhere Solutions
subsidiary, which provides mobile database software and middleware.
Atlanta’s XcelleNet will add remote device
management and mobile security technologies to the iAnywhere portfolio.


With roughly a 73 percent share, iAnywhere has been the mobile database
leader for six years and serves over 12,000 corporate customers. Acquiring
rival XcelleNet, which specializes in making software to help keep remote
employees in the corporate loop, will help Sybase bolster its unit’s market
leadership, company officials said.


More broadly, the assets are expected to help Sybase improve its Unwired
Enterprise portfolio for creating products that help organizations manage
and mobilize data on the go. Sybase announced the initiative, with Intel in
tow to offer developer training programs, last November.


XcelleNet has two main brands, Afaria and RemoteWare. Afaria helps users
provide configuration, security, and back-up management for laptops, tablets
and handheld computers. The suite provides a Microsoft .NET-based console
that lets employees manage activities from a browser.


RemoteWare provides point-of-sale (POS) management to help users support
Windows, Unix, Linux, or DOS server-based POS systems, as well as and
Windows laptops and desktops. The software is primed for everything from
asynchronous dial-up connections to frame relay IP networks.


Stephen Drake, program manager for IDC’s Mobile Infrastructure Software
Service, said the Afaria assets, with their focus on providing levels of
security and management for mobile devices are the key components of the
acquisition for Sybase. RemoteWare provides inventory management for legacy
POS systems in customer service- oriented environments such as retail
stores, he said.


The deal is not a competitive strike against anyone per se, Drake explained,
but rather a complementary add-on to the Unwired Enterprise initiative.


“XcelleNet has focused on this market for a long time and has carved an
innovative niche,” Drake told internetnews.com. “As companies begin
to roll out more and more devices for employee use, security and management
becomes a concern and XcelleNet software can be used to rein in the
devices.”


Sybase also expects to gain 2,200 global customers through the deal in
addition to new and expanded relationships with partners and independent
software vendors (ISVs) such as HP and Microsoft.


Sybase expects the transaction to close in the second quarter of 2004.


Meanwhile, Sybase reported that Q1 total revenues will likely be in the
range of $183 to $185 million, with earnings-per-share in the range of 18 to
20 cents. Analysts had estimated an EPS of 24 cents.


Sybase Chairman, CEO and President John Chen said sales were impacted by the
failure to close several large telecom this quarter “as anticipated, but
which we expect to close future quarters.”

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