Vignette to acquire Epicentric portal developer

Content management specialist Vignette Corp., which last week unveiled its strategy to deliver Web applications that extend beyond simple content management into search, collaboration and portals, plans to acquire portal software maker Epicentric Inc.

Vignette announced Monday that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Epicentric for up to US$32 million in cash and restricted stock. The deal marks a significant shift in the portal market, where Epicentric was No. 4 in revenue in 2001 behind Plumtree Software Inc., Computer Associates International Inc. and IBM Corp., according to IDC.

It also illustrates the growing trend among content management, collaboration, search and portal vendors to integrate their products in order to provide customers with capabilities that enable them to take a holistic view of their digital content. Plumtree, for example, earlier this month announced its Enterprise Web strategy, which is focused on providing customers with a single platform for content management, collaboration, identity management, search and business process automation.

Vignette is also focusing on providing customers with a single view into various content and applications. Executives say Epicentric's Java-based portal, which supports Web services interoperability, will help Vignette do that. The acquisition will immediately bring advanced portal capabilities such as security, central role management, presentation management and targeted content delivery to Vignette's content management suite Vignette V7, which the company announced last week.

"Vignette's acquisition of Epicentric is in response to overwhelming customer demand for integrated solutions that enable the rapid deployment of Web-based business applications," Thomas E. Hogan, president and CEO of Vignette, said in a statement.

Michael Crosno, chairman, president and CEO of Epicentric, says the combination of the technologies "will mean faster adoption of the Web for business applications by organizations."

The Epicentric acquisition brings 250 new customers to Vignette. The companies already share many joint customers, including DaimlerChrysler AG, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Motorola Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and Vodafone Group PLC.

Vignettes' V7 suite of content management products will be generally available in December. Full Epicentric support for Vignette V7 is slated for the first quarter of next year.

The deal is expected to close in December 2002 and is subject to customary closing conditions.

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