IBM acquires DataMirror for $170 million

Continuing its habit of shopping North of the border, IBM announced a $170 million cash offer Monday for DataMirror, a Markham, Ont.-based developer of real-time data integration and data protection software.

The deal sees IBM offering $27 cash per share to acquire all outstanding DataMirror common shares, amounting to a $170 million total offer. The deal is subject to shareholder and regulatory approval, with a shareholder vote scheduled for August 24. The DataMirror board is recommending approval, and all 220 DataMirror employees are expected to be offered positions with IBM.

The DataMirror deal is just the latest in a string of acquisitions designed to shore-up IBM’s information management software play, and follows the acquisition of other Canadian companies, including DWL Software and PureEdge Solutions.

Michael Curry, director, product management and strategy with IBM’s Information Management division, said DataMirror expands IBM’s Information on Demand offerings, providing new capabilities around sensing data changes in different sources of enterprise information, integrating and analyzing the information and delivering it in real time to business processes and applications.

“The intention is to take the DataMirror products and integrate them with IBM Information Server, and enhance its capabilities around data capture and replication, specifically around heterogeneous data sources,” said Curry.

The two companies aren’t strangers. They’ve been partners for 12 years, developing an even closer relationship around data integration following IBM’s acquisition of Ascential in 2005.

“We have very similar channels, very similar customers, there’s a lot of synergy,” said Curry, adding 60 per cent of DataMirror customers are also IBM customers. “There’s a substantial opportunity there, and of course there’s an expansion opportunity within those customers as well.”

There’s a lot of overlap on the channel partner front as well. While its status quo until the deal closes, Curry said his expectation is that DataMirror partners will be brought into IBM’s partner program.

“We would welcome those partners into our organization and hopefully continue doing business as usual with them, and in fact expand the scope of what they’ve been doing to new markets and the broader set of technologies that Information Server brings,” said Curry.

DataMirror founder and CEO Nigel Stokes will stay with the company through the transition, although he said “there isn’t going to be a role for the CEO of DataMirror once it’s integrated into” IBM.

Stokes said though his hope is that DataMirror’s software development team, located not far from IBM’s Markham, Ont. offices, will become a “competency centre” for IBM around data integration and replication architecture.

“We’ve been partners with IBM for a dozen years, and we’ve worked closely to make sure our technology was complimentary with the information integration technology that’s key to IBM’s software strategy,” said Stokes.

Stokes added becoming part of IBM will give DataMirror partners an opportunity to extend their reach and brand value, offering deeper solutions around integration, master data management and data warehousing, leveraging both IBM and DataMirror technology.

“Anything that’s good for their customers, and allows them to get more value out of the technology, is also good for the channel,” said Stokes.

Montreal-based Syntax.net is a partner with both IBM and DataMirror, and senior vice-president Gary Shaffran said having the IBM brand and organization behind the DataMirror product set will only yield good things for customers and for the channel.

“It’s the kind of product I think fits well in the IBM family and plays well certainly with our strategies around business resiliency,” said Shaffran, “From a partner perspective I think it’s good. From a customer perspective it’s good. I think it’s win all the way around.”

The DataMirror purchase follows in the footsteps of deals like Oracle’s acquisition of Hyperion, SAP’s purchase of OutlookSoft and Microsoft’s acquisition of ProClarity said Joel Martin, vice-president of enterprise software research with IDC Canada.

“It’s part of an unfolding trend (of companies) investing in technologies that allow greater role-based, industry specific, timely information to be pulled from a variety of sources and presented in a useful way to line of business folks,” said Martin.

DataMirror fits in well with what IBM is trying to do in that marketplace and also closes a gap IBM needed to fill with the acquisitions by its competitors, he added.

“It fits nicely into IBM’s acquisition strategy of building-out a software offering that really takes a middleware approach to pulling all the applications together and presenting information that’s useful for the end user,” said Martin.

Comment: cdnedit@itbusiness.ca

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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