i2, Aspect merge in $9.3 billion stock deal

ITworld.com –

Emerging online exchange builder i2 Technologies said it has reached a definitive agreement to merge with Aspect Development Inc. in a stock deal valued at $9.3 billion, the largest deal yet among software companies. i2 estimates that the combined revenues of i2 and Aspect in 2000 will make it the largest provider of software and content for business-to-business systems.

At the same time as the merger, i2 said it had agreed to acquire San Francisco-based Supplybase Inc., a provider of solutions for web-based product design and sourcing of custom parts and assemblies.

The biggest software mergers before today were among fairly prominent industry players -- for example, CA and Platinum Technologies, CA and Sterling Software, IBM and Lotus. The i2-Aspect pairing represents the biggest wedding of B2B upstarts to date.

In fact, both companies are established players that have found success as big customers move quickly to build online trade exchanges. This success has translated into large stock valuations.

Dallas, Texas-based I2 arose from the mid-'90s supply chain management (SCM) firmament to challenge online exchange makers such as Oracle and CommerceOne. Like others, it is looking to fill in important technology gaps in its offerings via acquisition.

"The merger will create a B2B marketplace powerhouse with unmatched solution breadth and depth of functionality, unparalleled content, and a laser-focus on value creation," said Sanjiv Sidhu, chairman and CEO, i2, in a statement.

At closing, Aspect will become a subsidiary of i2 with Romesh Wadhwani, Aspect's chairman and CEO, becoming vice chairman of i2 and a member of i2's Board of Directors.

Sometimes described as a customer relationship management (CRM) house, Aspect, headquartered in Mountain View, CA, provides portal-building software for e-commerce trading partners. Its roots are in managing inbound supply decisions for the enterprise. Aspect systems provide decision support and content for procurement, product development, and operations, as well.

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