Change hits SCM -- Serena bids for Merant

Mainframe change management software expert Serena Software Inc. moved this week to buy longtime distributed software configuration software maker Merant. Serena is partnering with investment house Lehman Brothers to pursue a tender offer for Merant, which, although headquartered in Hillsboro, Ore., is owned by U.K.-based Merant PLC. The cash-and-stock deal was valued at about $380 million.

If the proposed deal goes through, Serena would rate second in a software change and configuration software market led by IBM Rational. Last year, Serena bought request management software maker TeamTrack in a notable push beyond its mainframe software stronghold.

''We think the opportunity for selling mainframe products into Merant's customer base is large,'' said Serena CEO Mark Woodward. ''Even more important will be our ability to go into a very large installed base of Merant's PVCS customers and sell TeamTrack, ChangeMan DS or Dimensions [software].'' Woodward noted that there are opportunities to sell PVCS into Serena's installed base as well. He added that the proposed purchase would greatly extend Serena's geographic reach.

Reduced costs are expected, as the combined companies share infrastructure. CEO Woodward said the deal could close in the late-April or early-May timeframe.

Merant came to prominence as a configuration player based on tools originally offered by Sage Software and Polytron. Merant, in effect, ''returned to its configuration roots'' in recent years as it jettisoned DataDirect middleware, MicroFocus mainframe 4GL tools and other offerings.

About the Author

Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.


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