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BEA acquires M7

Middleware company BEA Systems buys applications tools developer M7 in an effort to expand its open-source tools chest.

BEA Systems announced Wednesday it acquired applications tools developer M7, as BEA seeks to expand its open source tools chest.

BEA, which earlier this year became a board member of Java-based tools organization Eclipse Foundation, expects to bolster its efforts in the Eclipse-based tools arena via the M7 acquisition. M7 markets NitroX developer tools for Web applications, which are based on the Eclipse environment.

The acquisition is also designed to accelerate BEA's efforts to combine commercial and open-source software. BEA is in the process of making its own Workshop Java development tools work with Eclipse as well.

"Developers want the ability to mix-and-match the best components and deployment platforms that give them optimal building blocks to get their jobs done," Mark Carges, BEA chief technology officer, said in a statement.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition of M7, a small privately owned company, follows BEA's planned purchase of portal vendor Plumtree last month for $200 million. It also bought Swedish telecommunications software maker Incomit to aid its efforts to adapt its WebLogic platform for telco providers.

But even as it stepped up its pace of acquisitions, BEA itself had been the subject of takeover rumors.

Oracle's chief executive, Larry Ellison, had previously listed BEA as an attractive takeover target, but more recently has indicated the database giant may no longer be interested now that it has increased its market share in middleware. BEA, meanwhile, is facing growing competition from Oracle, as well as from IBM, Microsoft and open-source players such as JBoss.

CNET's Martin LaMonica contributed to this report.