January 23, 2004 10:25 AM PST
Ariba to buy FreeMarkets for $493 million
Through the acquisition, Ariba will be able to blend its suite of enterprise spend-management software and services with FreeMarkets' auction-based supply-chain management service.
"By combining our unique domain knowledge and expertise in sourcing and supply management with Ariba's strong spend-management capabilities, we can provide companies with a truly comprehensive set of software and services that will enable them to drive greater savings and efficiencies across their operations," said Dave McCormick, FreeMarket's chief executive, in a statement.
The companies, once merged, will operate under the Ariba name and deliver products as previously planned. But over time, their applications will be amalgamated onto a single platform.
The move is the latest sign of rapid consolidation in the online business software and services industry. Earlier this month, Ariba, which provides pay-as-you-go software and services, unveiled plans to buy hosting services partner Alliente. And a few weeks ago, FreeMarkets reported it intended to buy the auction services of Covisint, a struggling online marketplace for the auto industry.
Ariba, a Wall Street darling during the B2B boom, said it will pay 2.25 shares of its stock for every share of FreeMarkets, as well as $2 in cash. The deal is expected to close by the end of the second quarter, pending shareholder and regulatory approval.
Ariba said it will conduct a reverse stock split of either 1-for-5 shares, or 1-for-6 shares, once the merger is completed.
McCormick will join Mountain View, Calif.-based Ariba as its president and a director. Bob Calderoni, Ariba chief executive and chairman, will retain his titles.
In addition, Ariba announced that its fiscal 2004 first-quarter revenue will come in below analyst estimates of $54.7 million. It expects revenue to be between $52 million to $53 million.
The software maker also said it expects to report net income of $6 million, or 2 cents a share. However, those results include a one-time benefit of $5 million. Analysts are forecasting the company to report a profit of 1 cent a share, according to a poll conducted by Thomson.
FreeMarkets shares rose $1.29, or roughly 15 percent, to $9.70 in early trading on Friday. Shares of Ariba, meanwhile, were down in early trading by 22 cents, or nearly 6 percent, to $3.48.