The announcement marks a significant effort by the pair of document management software makers to shore up their positions in a market now threatened by groupware companies such as IBM subsidiary Lotus Development, Netscape Communications, and Microsoft.
Under the terms of two agreements signed today between PC Docs, Fulcrum, and Fulcrum's controlling shareholder, Datamat Ingegneria, PC Docs said it will buy all the issued and outstanding shares of Fulcrum and then offer Fulcrum shareholders the right to have their shares exchanged for PC Docs common shares at the rate of one share of PC Docs for four shares of Fulcrum.
The Toronto-based PC Docs said it will make the offer within 30 days, following governmental approval.
Although the document management software market has long been considered a specialized niche, a number of software heavy hitters have been tapping into the market with their own products. Makers such as Lotus, Netscape, and Novell are slowly moving to incorporate traditional add-on software such as document management into their offerings.
For instance, Lotus earlier this year debuted a plug-in--the Domino.Document Manager--to compete with sophisticated offerings offered by companies such as PC Docs.
Ottawa-based Fulcrum provides enterprise software packages allowing users to create multiplatform applications for customer care, publishing, and other applications that require document search engine software.
PC Docs develops object-oriented intranet document management and information management systems.
Earlier this month, PC Docs and Microsoft signed an agreement to promote an electronic legal and justice system that will digitally link law firms to courts and to each other. The pact also includes privately held Choice Information Systems and Focus Systems.
As part of the alliance, Microsoft, Choice, and PC Docs will set up electronic filing systems in courts throughout the United States using Choice's software, Microsoft said.