Analysts welcome Axway acquisition of Vordel

14 Nov 2012

Industry analysts have welcomed the news last week that Ireland’s Vordel is to be acquired by the French software group Axway.

Paolo Malinverno, a vice-president of research with Gartner, has been tracking both companies for several years. He classified the deal as the combination of a leader in the enterprise B2B space with a smaller, focused player specialising in API management and SOA governance.

“This unites an industry leader with a much more innovative company and literally unifies the market and multiplies it, to some extent,” he said. “It’s a good match and it’s definitely a case where the total is greater than the sum of the elements.”

Stefan Ried, principal analyst with Forrester’s Business Technology Futures team, said the deal makes sense for a middleware vendor and B2B integration specialist like Axway to consider a security vendor as an acquisition target.

“The need to modernise security around integration scenarios becomes more important than ever,” he wrote in a blog post.

Game-changing deal

Mark O’Neill, Vordel’s founder and chief technology officer, said in a conference call last week that from a technology point of view, the deal “really is a game changer that a single vendor can provide file transfer and adding API management and the new reach out to mobile apps”. Being able to offer strong governance and visibility would be “very compelling for customers”, he added.

“Companies want to make use of cloud and mobile, to offer cloud-based services with a layer of governance in place and link that into their existing systems, and they want to deploy mobile apps to their customers and suppliers.That’s what Vordel provides. Historically, Axway has been very strong on B2B file transfer and EDI. Newer technologies from Vordel are around connecting to mobile apps and control. What Vordel is bringing is the cloud and the mobile technology,” said O’Neill.

Forrester’s Ried gave three reasons for welcoming the news: traditional B2B integration over private networks is more and more replaced with B2B connectivity and cloud-based integration over the internet; traditional rigid EDI gateways still exist and handle huge volumes, but many new applications are developed in the cloud and access synchronous REST or SOAP APIs for immediate customer and partner engagement.

Lastly, he said large enterprises have heterogeneous integration strategies to meet different characteristics of integration.

Malinverno of Gartner sounded a note of caution, saying the challenge for the firms will be to market the combined products effectively – a task they haven’t always succeeded at in the past – and to integrate the technology in a way that differentiates it from rival offerings, especially from the large software vendors.

Malinverno, who is based in Dublin, said overall he is positive about the deal. “Axway is now international. Most of the management team is in the US and they have a history of very successful acquisition,” he said.

Due to rules governing French public companies, the purchase price has not been officially disclosed, although a report in The Irish Independent last week gave a figure of between €40m and €50m.

Gordon Smith was a contributor to Silicon Republic