BEA acquires portal player

23 Aug 2005

A growing conviction that portals could become a major focal point of the enterprise is believed to be the driving force behind enterprise software player BEA Systems’ decision to enter into an agreement to acquire Plumtree Software for US$300m in cash.

“The portal is becoming the major point of integration in the enterprise,” said Alfred Chuang, chairman and CEO, BEA Systems.

“Customers will benefit from the powerful combination of BEA as the leader in portal, application and service infrastructure, and Plumtree, as the leader in portal and collaboration software. The acquisition of the Plumtree portfolio will make BEA the leading provider of the most open, extensible and standards-based J2EE, .Net and service-oriented platform in the industry,” Chuang said.

Plumtree provides enterprise portal solutions to connect disparate work groups, IT systems and business processes. Its portfolio features the industry’s only cross-platform portal, running on both J2EE and .Net. By combining the Plumtree and BEA portal portfolios, BEA says it will be able to better provide customers with improved enterprise productivity by offering both collaborative and transactional portals across multiple platforms and application servers.

Under terms of the agreement, BEA will pay USD$5.50 per share, in cash, plus the assumption of outstanding Plumtree options, for a total transaction value of approximately USD$200m. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval, Plumtree shareholder approval and other customary closing conditions. The transaction is expected to close in the fall of calendar year 2005. Upon close of the transaction, Plumtree will become a part of a new BEA product unit.

Headquartered in San Francisco, Plumtree was founded in 1996 and has approximately 400 employees. Plumtree has more than 21 million worldwide users and more than 700 customers, including Airbus, Ford, Pratt & Whitney, Starbucks and the US Navy. Locally, the company has worked with BT Ireland’s Labrynth web design business.

“Plumtree’s core competency is cross-platform enterprise connectivity and productivity. We give people a place to collaborate and a face to their enterprise business processes or composite services,” said Plumtree CEO John Kunze

By John Kennedy