Iona acquired for US$162m

26 Jun 2008

One of Ireland’s largest and most successful home-grown technology companies Iona Technologies has been acquired by US firm Progress Software for US$162m, it emerged this morning.

Iona Technologies, which was founded by Chris Horn, Sean Baker and Annrai O’Toole, grew swiftly from an R&D endeavour in a Trinity College Dublin lab in the mid-Nineties and became an overnight sensation when it floated on the Nasdaq in 1997, reaping US$140m in the process.

Progress Software Corporation, a US supplier of infrastructure software, has bought Iona for US$4.05 per share or US$162m in equity – roughly 16pc over the share value in the last six months – and US$106m in cash and marketable securities.

Iona is the largest indigenous software company to emerge from Ireland and at its peak had over US$100m in annual revenues.

Progress Software said the combination with Iona makes it a leading force in the market for heterogeneous service oriented architecture (SOA) technologies.

“We could not have chosen a better partner in terms of commitment to customers, pursuit of technology excellence and shared vision to be the industry’s leading independent supplier of SOA infrastructure software,” said Iona chief executive, Peter Zotto (pictured).

“Progress is now the clear choice for SOA implementations in performance-demanding IT environments. Combining Iona’s proven expertise in distributed system integration technologies with the Progress SOA portfolio will allow customers to achieve a better return on existing IT assets and future IT investments.”

The acquisition is subject to terms and conditions of Iona shareholders, approval in the Irish High Court and US regulatory approval.

“We are proud to inherit Iona’s long history and reputation for developing some of the industry’s most respected and well-recognised technology for integrating mission-critical systems, often involving hundreds of applications and millions of transactions per day over diverse IT environments,” said Progress chief executive and co-founder, Joseph Alsop.

“Iona products are very complementary to what Progress offers today and Iona customers can rest assured that Progress is committed to the same high standards of support, product quality and performance.”

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years