Divine Snaps Up Fading Viant

Acquisition-hungry Divine is bolstering its collaboration technology deployment expertise though the purchase of professional services company Viant.

The saga of another once high-flying Internet company drew to its final chapter Friday as Divine Inc. announced plans to buy Internet services company Viant Corp.

Based on Divines current stock prices, the value of the deal stands at about $84 million, plus the agreement may also include the payment by Viant of a cash dividend of $24 million, to the Viant stockholders prior to the consummation of the merger. The record date for such dividend has not yet been set.

Andrew "Flip" Filipowski, chairman and CEO of Divine, said in a statement that Viants expertise in deploying collaborative technologies would be particularly useful for Divine, which is acquiring companies in order to build product suites for collaboration, content management and customer interaction management.

Viant, of Boston, will join assets of the former MarchFirst Inc. in Divines services organization. Viant is expected to expand Divines services presence in Boston, New York and Los Angeles as well as add vertical industry depth in financial services, media and entertainment, and health care, according to Divine officials, in Chicago.

Viant, whose stock was once valued at $3 billion, has, like other professional services firms, fallen on hard times as it battles to stay relevant post-dotcom bust. The company reported just $4.4 million in revenues in its most recent quarter ended Dec. 31, down from $25 million in the same quarter the previous year. It lost $22.8 million in the quarter, $72 million for the year on $34.6 million in revenues.

The Divine buyout of Viant will be subject to a number of closing conditions, including approval of Divines and Viants stockholders. No timetable has been set for the deal to close.