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TECH BRIEFS

IBM Will Pay $1 Billion for Informix's Database Unit

April 25, 2001|Bloomberg News

International Business Machines Corp. agreed to buy Informix Corp.'s database unit for about $1 billion in cash, as Informix exits its biggest business after losing market share to larger rivals.

Shares of Informix, which will focus on products that help companies collect and analyze information, fell $1.94 to close at $5.10 on Nasdaq. IBM closed up 67 cents at $112.67 on the New York Stock Exchange.

The acquisition gives IBM more database-software customers in telecommunications, retail, health care and government, bolstering its efforts to take market share from Oracle Corp.

Analysts said the deal is less favorable for Informix, which is giving up the business that generated 85% of its first-quarter sales, and investors are concerned the price is too low. Informix said proceeds from the sale of the slower-growing yet larger of its two units will be about $800 million.

The company lags IBM, Oracle and Microsoft Corp. in the database market. The database unit, based in Menlo Park, Calif., produces software that is popular in the retail and financial services industries because it is faster and more powerful than Oracle's for certain tasks.

The IBM purchase leaves Informix with its Ascential software unit, which it had planned to spin off into a separate company before the sale.

Informix will be renamed Ascential Software after the sale's completion, expected in the third quarter.

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