Big Blue Goes for Database Gold

Informix Corporation has agreed to sell the assets of its database business, Informix Software, to IBM for one billion dollars in cash.

The move was designed to increase Big Blue's market share in the distributed database business. Informix provides database management systems for data warehousing, business intelligence and transaction processing to an installed base of more than 100,000 customers worldwide. Key Informix customers include Verizon, Deutsche Telekom, Sears and Sabre. Prior to the acquisition, IBM already had 400,000 database customers, placing it second in market share, only slightly behind market leader Oracle. The acquisition currently shifts the market share advantage to IBM.

Sam Palmisano, president and chief operating officer of IBM, observed, "This acquisition of Informix allows IBM to bring the benefits of leadership database technologies to more customers faster."

IBM plans to integrate Informix's database business operations and personnel into IBM's existing software data management division and will market Informix's database products through an integrated IBM and Informix sales force.

Peter Gyenes, chairman and chief executive officer, Informix Corp., said, "IBM offers the global resources, investment protection, support and technology leadership our customers and partners need for the future, as well as exciting opportunities for our employees. This acquisition also extends the reach and relevance of key Informix technologies as they are evolved and integrated into future versions of IBM data management offerings."

News of the acquisition sent Informix shares down 27 percent on the NASDAQ.