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BEA cuts down Plumtree for $200m

Portal payout

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BEA shoved a big, fat thumb into the portal pie on Monday with the $200m buy of Plumtree software.

The all-cash deal will see BEA plunk down $5.50 per share for Plumtree and assume the company's outstanding options. Should shareholders and regulators approve the purchase, it would likely close before year end. BEA - one of the leading application server makers - has been looking to expand beyond its roots and with Plumtree on its side would have a healthier portal business.

"The portal is becoming the major point of integration in the enterprise," said Alfred Chuang, CEO at BEA. "Customers will benefit from the powerful combination of BEA as the leader in portal, application and service infrastructure, and Plumtree, as the leader in portal and collaboration software. The acquisition of the Plumtree portfolio will make BEA the leading provider of the most open, extensible and standards-based J2EE, .Net and Service-Oriented platform in the industry."

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Once the transaction closes, Plumtree's assets will be revamped to form a new BEA product unit. Plumtree's CEO John Kunze and BEA's CTO Mark Carges will oversee the union of the two companies' code and personnel.

Plumtree lays claims to more than 700 customers and 21m users, including the likes of Starbucks and the US Navy. It employs close to 400 people and is based here in the Bay Area.

In June, BEA kicked off a new branding campaign and product strategy. It has been under pressure from the likes of IBM, Oracle and open source players, and analysts have called for the company to present a clearer growth path toward. Many see BEA as a major acquisition target despite its preference to remain a neutral ISV.

Plumtree would help BEA build out its portal business and push its middleware portfolio closer to end users. ®

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