Sybase buys XcelleNet

Sybase, a provider of enterprise infrastructure and mobile software, has announced a $95m buyout of data management applications...

Sybase, a provider of enterprise infrastructure and mobile software, has announced a $95m (£53m) buyout of data management applications maker, XcelleNet.

According to the company, XcelleNet will become part of Sybase's mobile division, and will further enhance the company's mobile solutions offering.

The acquisition marks the latest move by Sybase to expand its presence in the mobile middleware sector.

According to market researcher IDC, the mobile middleware segment is expected to grow to $1.6bn (£890m) by 2007.

Alan Cowley, chief executive officer of Sybase, said the deal is the next step in the company's "unwired enterprise" initiative, which focuses on creating mobile software solutions for corporates, and will also result in new radio frequency identification (RFID) products.

"The XcelleNet buyout will greatly improve Sybase's ability to help companies manage back-end operations related to mobile applications," he said.

"Our role is in enabling these devices at the edge of corporate networks to collect and distribute information. We think mobile device management will converge with security over time, and we believe that the addition of the XcelleNet products will help Sybase to move in that direction."

Sybase said it expected to gain 2,200 customers through the acquisition of XcelleNet which is expected to close the deal during the second quarter. The company will also expand relationships with partners and independent software suppliers already working with XcelleNet, including Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft.

Joan Herbig, chief executive of XcelleNet, said the deal makes sense for the company, because it provides new resources and broader market reach. The executives expected to hold on to a majority of XcelleNet's existing employees under Sybase, with the company existing as an individual group operating under iAnywhere.

Stephen Drake, an analyst at US-based research firm IDC, said the acquisition indicated Sybase's intention to move increasingly into mobile data management.

The addition of XcelleNet should help Sybase establish its ability to compete more closely with larger database software makers, including IBM, Oracle and Sun Microsystems, he added.

"We are seeing within [end-user] companies that mobile deployments continue to get much larger, with far more people using mobile devices to access corporate networks and data," Drake said. "This deal gives us a broader view of where Sybase is hoping to go in tying mobility to its database and integration tools."

Th deal could also improve its appeal to ICT buyers by offering mobile data applications for specific vertical markets. The buyout gives Sybase a great deal of expertise in security software, he said, adding the company would likely turn to partnerships, rather than to additional acquisitions, to increase security capabilities in the future.

Written by Computing SA staff

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