IBM buys AT&T’s Sterling Commerce for $1.4 billion

IBM is paying $1.4 billion in cash to acquire Sterling Commerce from AT&T, the companies announced today.

Tech M&A deals of 2010

Sterling Commerce makes business-to-business e-commerce software, including integration platforms to help companies connect with the systems of their customers, partners and suppliers. It also operates a hosted trading partner network for connecting business partners.

IBM says its middleware products and services complement the B2B capabilities of Sterling Commerce. Combined, the two vendors’ offerings will enable smarter and more efficient integration of business processes that span marketing, sales, order management and fulfillment, IBM says.

"This acquisition will give IBM new tools to help clients build dynamic business networks that connect partners, suppliers and clients and deliver a consistent customer experience across channels,” said Craig Hayman, general manager for WebSphere at IBM, in a statement. “In addition, the fact that much of this can be done in the cloud will make it compelling to large numbers of our customers."

Sterling Commerce is based in Dublin, Ohio, and has more than 18,000 global customers.

SBC Communications purchased Sterling Commerce in 2000. When AT&T and SBC merged in 2005, Sterling Commerce became an AT&T company.

IBM and AT&T expect the transaction to close in the second half of 2010. Approximately 2,500 Sterling Commerce employees will join the WebSphere organization within IBM's Software Group.

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