Sybase to Buy AvantGo

Sybase plans to use acquisition as a way to open up mobile database to Web developers.

Corporate integration software company Sybase Inc. is planning to acquire wireless communications company AvantGo in a cash merger valued at approximately $38 million, the two companies announced on Friday.

Sybase intends to operate AvantGo under its iAnywhere Solutions subsidiary, which specializes in remote access software. The acquisition is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2003.

"Todays announcement is an important part of iAnywhere Solutions strategic plans to fuel new growth in the mobile and wireless arena," said John Chen, chairman, president and CEO of Sybase, in Dublin, Calif., in a statement. "I am excited by the opportunities of the new combined entity, and am confident in iAnywhere Solutions ability to execute on its strategy to drive future growth."

AvantGo, of Hayward, Calif., always had trouble finding a profitable niche in the mobile space. The company started out providing handheld computer access to news, weather and other information to consumers, but the majority of its revenue came from business applications such as its M-Business Server. Last summer, the company said it planned to shift its focus toward field force applications and vertical business such as pharmaceuticals. In July the company announced that it planned to lay off 40 percent of its employees by the end of the year.

Sybase officials said they plan to use the AvantGo acquisition as a way to open up their mobile database to Web developers and that the company would build on the My AvantGo personal remote data access service, which has about seven million users.