Informix Buys Ardent

Informix Corp. ( today announced an agreement to purchase Ardent Software ( for about $880 million in stock. The deal combines two companies with deep roots in data warehousing that are working to reposition themselves as infrastructure providers for online business.

Menlo Park, Calif.-based Informix had been among the top companies in database revenues but has been fading in market share over the last few years. Around the end of last year, Informix bought another major data warehouse company, Red Brick Technologies Inc., and began realigning its offerings around Internet commerce.

Ardent, based in Westboro, Mass., sells both extraction, transformation and loading (ETL) tools for building data warehouses and offers an object-oriented database. Ardent also recently unveiled an e-business infrastructure strategy.

Informix president and CEO Jean-Yves Dexmier put the Ardent acquisition in the context of several recent moves by Informix – releasing an Internet database, Informix Internet Foundation.2000; acquiring embedded Java database vendor, Cloudscape; releasing the i.Reach and i.Sell Web solutions; and the limited release of a digital asset management solution called Media360.

"This transaction also represents a significant step in Informix’s transformation to a provider of open, database-independent solutions," Dexmier says. "Ardent’s components and solutions will continue to be marketed independently of the underlying database technology."

The boards of directors for both companies unanimously approved the deal, and it will be handled as an exchange of 3.5 shares of Informix common stock for each outstanding Ardent share. Accounted for as a pooling of interest, the deal is subject to stockholder and regulatory approval and is expected to occur in the first quarter of 2000.

The companies say the transaction would create a $1 billion company in "open software infrastructure for the i.Economy." Informix had about $735 million in revenues in 1998; Ardent’s 1998 revenues were about $119 million.

Informix shares were down more than $1, trading around $10 on the Nasdaq this morning. Ardent shares were trading around $31, a gain of more than $5. – Scott Bekker

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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