IBM acquires Sterling Commerce

Acquisition deal

IBM is entering its biggest acquisition agreement to date by putting in an offer for Sterling Commerce.

The company has entered the definitive agreement with AT&T current owners of the B2B commerce and integration company for a sizeable 1.4 billion in cash, which will see Sterling integrated into WebSphere, part of IBM's software group.

"The broad global reach and additional capabilities IBM offers make this acquisition great news for our customers and partners," said Bob Irwin, chief executive of Sterling Commerce, in a statement.

"The combination of IBM's products, services and skills with the Sterling Commerce B2B integration and cross-channel capabilities resulting from this acquisition is unparalleled."

The solutions being taken over by IBM, paired with its own business analytics and processes products, is the key to this venture.

There is also a focus on the cloud, with the products being available both as private or public offerings, and this is something the both firms are very keen to pursue.

"Businesses today are operating in a highly competitive global environment in which lines between actions taking place within and outside an organisation's four walls are blurring," said Craig Hayman, general manager of WebSphere at IBM, in a statement.

"This acquisition will give IBM new tools to help clients build dynamic business networks that connect partners, suppliers and clients and deliver a consistent customer experience across channels. In addition, the fact that much of this can be done in the cloud will make it compelling to large numbers of our customers."

The deal is expected to be completed in the second half of 2010 with an estimated 2,500 Sterling employees moving over to Big Blue, which will in turn gain Sterling's 18,000-strong customer base.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.