Ariba sets 2-for-1 stock split

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Ariba Inc. (Nasdaq: ARBA) rewarded its investors late Tuesday, approving a 2-for-1 stock split for shareholders of record on Dec. 3. Its shares closed up 6 5/8 to 216 5/8 ahead of the announcement.

Company officials said the stock split is payable on or about Dec. 17 to shareholders of record on Dec. 3. The stock split will increase the number of shares of Ariba common stock outstanding from about 46 million shares as of Nov. 16 to about 92 million shares.

Late Monday, Ariba announced it would buy TradingDynamics Inc. for $400 million in stock.

Company officials said the deal will be accounted for as a purchase and that it expects it to close by the end of March.

TradingDynamics makes software that lets customers create any kind of auction, reverse auction or bid/ask exchange. Drew Harman, head of marketing for TradingDynamics, said in an interview that the combination of the two companies would make them an even more formidable competitor to rival Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL).

Last quarter, Ariba topped analysts' estimate by 5 cents a share when it posted a loss of $4.6 million, or 12 cents a share, on sales of $17.1 million. That $17.1 million in sales was a 266 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter.

Ariba shares hit an all-time high of 218 earlier this month after falling to a low of 61 in August.

Nine of the 10 analysts tracking the Internet procurement software developer's stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation. >