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Sterling Commerce to nab firm

E-commerce systems provider Sterling Commerce says it will acquire XcelleNet for $200 million.

E-commerce systems provider Sterling Commerce said today that it will acquire XcelleNet for $200 million.

Under the terms of the agreement, shareholders of XcelleNet, a remote computing software maker, will receive $8.80 in cash and 0.289 of a share in Sterling Commerce common stock for each share of XcelleNet stock they own, the companies said.

Atlanta, Georgia-based XcelleNet will become a new division within Sterling Commerce's Communications Software Group.

With this acquisition, Dallas, Texas-based Sterling Commerce said it is trying to extend its e-commerce systems to remote computing platforms by using XcelleNet's RemoteWare technology, which allows systems administrators to manage remote PCs.

Analysts said the move fits in with Sterling Commerce's promise to provide a multifeature e-commerce package.

"They always come at you with an all-in-one solution," said Michael Sullivan-Trainor, an analyst with International Data Corporation. "They offer EDI, Internet, and now they've added remote access. This is significant in that way."

Last December, as reported earlier, Sterling Commerce unveiled software to let companies initiate financial electronic data interchange (EDI) transactions with their banks over the World Wide Web, the first phase of building a suite of banking software for the Internet.

Today's acquisition is the climax of an ongoing relationship between the two companies, which began last year when Sterling Commerce first incorporated RemoteWare technology into its business-to-business e-commerce package. In October, as earlier reported, the company released Connect:Remote which is based on RemoteWare technology. Sterling Commerce enhanced that technology by adding automated features to connect to other network services, in addition to an email server.

XcelleNet's RemoteWare software is used by system administrators for dialing into enterprise systems remotely to recover data, and manage content, applications, software distribution, and assets on those systems.

"We will now be able to support and link new classes of business-to-business applications that previously were just too difficult to deploy and manage in remote, occasionally connected environments," Warner Blow, president and CEO of Sterling Commerce, said in a statement.

The transaction is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 1998.