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SSA continues acquisition spree

The business-automation software maker extends its acquisition streak by announcing it will buy supply-chain management specialist EXE Technologies.

SSA Global Technologies, a business-automation software maker, on Monday extended its recent streak of acquisitions by announcing an agreement to buy supply-chain management specialist EXE Technologies in a deal worth roughly $47 million.

Privately held SSA reported that it will merge EXE with a subsidiary that markets enterprise software aimed at manufacturing industries. Based on the terms of the deal, EXE shareholders will receive $7.10 per share in cash, an 18 percent premium over the company's closing market price of $6 on Friday. EXE has about 6.67 million outstanding shares.

Dallas-based EXE, which sells supply-chain automation tools including warehouse management, fulfillment and inventory management software, will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Chicago-based SSA.

If the deal is approved by EXE shareholders, the companies said they hope to close the deal within the next 75 days to 100 days. SSA stated that EXE Chairman Ray Hood, who holds 5.9 percent of the software maker's shares, has agreed to vote in favor of the merger.

"Our two companies share many synergies including industry focus and customer profile," Joe Cowan, CEO of EXE, said in a statement. "With SSA, we believe EXE customers will have a proven, strategic path to gain business value from enterprise solution investments."

SSA has been on an acquisition spree over the past year. In July, the company closed its $135 million acquisition of struggling enterprise resource planning software vendor Baan. Earlier this year, SSA bought out e-business applications makers Elevon and Ironside Technologies.

Industry watchers say that SSA is pushing hard to expand its array of applications and to strengthen ties to manufacturing industries through its recent spate of mergers. Kelly Ferguson, analyst at Current Analysis, said the biggest challenge for the company will be integrating the roughly seven product brands it now controls.

"Building out its applications portfolio through acquisition seems like a smart move since SSA was previously dependant on third-party agreements, but bringing all the acquired products together won't be easy," Ferguson said.

Ferguson added that SSA has been able to show positive results during tough economic times for enterprise software sellers due to its tight focus on the manufacturing sector.