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Business Objects buys Crystal Decisions

Bulking up against SAS

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Business Objects is to buy Crystal Decisions, a rival business intelligence (BI) software vendor, for approx $820m, of which $300m is cash.

The combined company will present a bigger challenge to SAS Institute, the dominant BI player most famous for its data mining software. The proposed consolidation will also present a challenge to Cognos, the third biggest player in this market.

Business Objects reckons the acquisition will be accretive to earnings in 2004, even without expected cost savings of $25m for the year, but before accounting for the purchase price.

Crystal Decisions has sold 14 million licenses for its report authoring software For the twelve months ended March 2003, Crystal Decisions' revenue was $270 million.

According to Business Objects, the deal joins two of the "strongest-performing companies in enterprise software, with highly complementary products, distribution channels, and talent pools".

Both companies think that customers will be looking for a one-stop shop for their BI software. says Jon Judge, Crystal Decisions, CEO. "In the business intelligence market, size and scale will be key ingredients to long-term success."

But more bulking up will be needed if the new combo is to match SAS. The privately-held company claims annual revenues of more than $1bn, compared with the approx. $700m of Business Objects/Crystal Decisions. ®

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