Armonk, N.Y. - Just a little over two weeks ago, Insurance Networking News reported IBM's acquisition of Austin, Texas-based Webify Solutions, which brought the total of IBM acquisitions to three in less than 15 months (See "IBM Sets SOA Sail"). Now IBM is adding another acquisition to the list.IBM and FileNet Corp. entered into a definitive agreement for Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM to acquire FileNet, a publicly held company headquartered in Costa Mesa, Calif., in an all-cash transaction at a price of approximately $1.6 billion, or $35 per share. The acquisition is subject to FileNet shareholder approval, regulatory reviews and other customary closing conditions. It is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2006.

"This is basically good news for the insurance industry, which is facing increasing demands from regulators, customers and business partners to manage content, documents and processes consistently and transparently," says Donald Light, senior analyst at Celent LLC, a Boston-based research and advisory firm. "FileNet's already significant position in the insurance industry will get a big boost from Big Blue's dominant position in insurance data centers."

FileNet is a provider of business process and content management solutions. This acquisition builds upon IBM's Information on Demand initiative, launched in February 2006, to address the growing market opportunity around combining IBM's software, services, partners and industry consulting to improve clients' business performance. The Information on Demand strategy aims to provide clients with data exactly when and how they need it to improve their business processes, quickly respond to market needs and rapidly identify new business opportunities.

IBM points to a convergence of challenges--globalization, mergers and acquisitions, information overload and regulatory compliance--as reasons for driving companies to find new ways to gain insight from their information so they can use it to grow their business. IBM's acquisition of FileNet aims to further the company's Information on Demand initiative, IBM's strategy for addressing this growing market opportunity.

IBM plans to build upon the advanced content management technologies of both companies to provide customers and partners with industry-focused, high-value solutions that are able to proactively capture and deliver content as part of a business process. These technologies can be integrated into IBM's service oriented architecture (SOA)-based capabilities, including business process management (BPM) and information lifecycle management.

"Freeing up information contained in content management systems is critical to unlocking the potential of information to improve business processes and performance," says Ambuj Goyal, general manager, IBM Information Management. "The combination of IBM and FileNet will provide our customers and partners with industry-focused content management solutions that offer a new level of business value."

Customers are making platform standardization decisions for enterprise content management (ECM) and are buying solutions that help build their core enterprise infrastructures, according to IBM, and this requires open standards, a broader, integrated set of content management capabilities, and better integration with business applications, which reduces total cost of ownership.

"The growth in enterprise deployments of ECM and BPM technologies is fueling a global market expansion," says Lee Roberts, chairman and CEO of FileNet. "The combination of IBM and FileNet will deliver increased innovation and industry-focused content management solutions, enabling our clients, systems integrators, ISVs and other partners to create enhanced and more competitive solutions. At the same time, this transaction offers FileNet shareholders a solid premium over historical trading prices of our stock."

Following completion of the acquisition, IBM intends to:

  • Combine FileNet's operations with IBM's content management business in the Information Management unit led by Goyal.
  • Preserve and enhance customer investments in both FileNet and IBM content management platforms, leveraging IBM's InformationIntegration technology to develop broader ECM solutions.
  • Integrate IBM's BPM and SOA technologies with the FileNet platform.
  • Train IBM and FileNet partner and services teams on both IBM and FileNet technology.

Source: IBM and Celent LLC

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