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Oracle picks up product lifecycle management vendor

Oracle plans to buy Agile Software Corp. for $495 million.

Oracle has announced plans to acquire Agile Software Corp., a maker of product lifecycle management (PLM) software, in an all cash deal worth $495 million.

Based in San Jose, Calif., Agile makes PLM products designed to help engineers, manufacturing and supply chain professionals drive product innovation through collaboration, according to Oracle.

Oracle expects to close the deal for Agile sometime in July.

Agile boasts just over 1,250 PLM customers, including Flextronics International, GE Medical Systems, Heinz, Johnson & Johnson, McDonald's and Lockheed Martin among others.

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In a statement released last night, Oracle president Charles Phillips said Agile's offering will make up the foundation of Oracle's PLM offering and "will allow us to offer yet another strategic application to SAP customers."

Oracle has purchased nearly 30 companies over the last three years in an effort to grab market share from its chief rival, SAP. The highest profile acquisitions included CRM giants PeopleSoft Corp. and Siebel Systems Inc., but more recently the company bought business intelligence vendor Hyperion Solutions Corp. and Tangosol Inc., a provider of in-memory, caching data grid software. Back in April, Oracle announced plans to acquire Lodestar Corp., a provider of meter data management and competitive energy software for the utilities industry.

A response to SAP

By acquiring Agile, Oracle hopes to fill a "big gap" in its functional applications portfolio, said Roy Wildeman, a senior analyst with Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc. But perhaps more importantly, he added, the acquisition serves as a strong response to SAP's recent moves in the PLM market.

"SAP in the last couple of years has been really putting a lot of energy into bolstering their product data management, collaborative workflows and role-based tailoring of PLM data," Wildeman said.

Wildeman said the market for PLM software is strong right now.

"PLM is a healthy market and particularly Oracle ERP customers will [see] value in looking to PLM to handle their product definition data," he said.

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