Peregrine selling B-to-B e-commerce operations

Looking to focus more strictly on its core infrastructure-management business, Peregrine Systems intends to sell off its business-to-business e-commerce systems.

The San Diego-based software and services company will begin operating its online trading electronic data interchange value-added network and data transformation module as a stand-alone entity on April 1.

At that time, it will begin seeking buyers for the US$120 million operation, Peregrine CEO Steve Gardner said today in an interview with Computerworld.

Gardner said the company needs to concentrate on its $580 million core infrastructure-management business, which looks to optimize IT asset use and help desk functions. "In a tight economy, we have to focus on what we do best," he said.

Much of the technology acquired in the April 2000 purchase of Harbinger Corp. will be included in the spin-off. In addition, the application integration functionality Peregrine acquired with the March 2001 purchase of Extricity Software Inc. will be licensed to the e-commerce division.

Gardner stressed that the e-commerce division makes money, with more than 40,000 customers and 1.3 million transactions per day. Peregrine's customer base is particularly strong in the automotive, chemical, pharmaceutical, retail and electronics manufacturing industries.

"People hear B2B e-commerce and they think it's another dot-com burnout, and nothing could be further from the truth," Gardner said.

He added that the B2B e-commerce system had just become too divergent an operation for Peregrine to keep within its walls.

"One of the tightest resources you can have in a business is the mind share of your people, and we just don't have enough of it to devote to that business," Gardner said.

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