Progress to Acquire Actional for $32M

In Actional, Progress adds a provider of WSM software for visibility and run-time governance of distributed IT systems in an SOA.

Progress Software Corp. announced Thursday an agreement to acquire Actional Corp. for approximately $32 million in cash and shares of Progress common stock.

In Actional, Bedford, Mass.-based Progress adds a provider of WSM (Web services management) software for visibility and run-time governance of distributed IT systems in an SOA (service-oriented architecture).

This move follows closely behind that of Mercury Interactive Corp.s acquisition of Systinet Corp.

/zimages/4/28571.gifTo read more about Mercurys acquisition of Systinet, click here.

Upon the closing of the transaction, Actional will become part of Sonic Software, an operating unit of Progress Software Corp. and a provider of enterprise service bus software.

Progress officials said the Actional products will round out the Sonic product line and will be sold both separately and as part of a suite.

Gordon van Huizen, chief technology officer at Progress, said the consolidation in this space is likely to continue, as "there is no secret the SOA market is heating up with organizations placing more bets on SOA as a defining strategy for their organizations."

Actional has two primary products.

Actional Looking Glass provides end-to-end business process visibility across any SOA deployment, company officials said.

Looking Glass automatically discovers services and message flows through the SOA network, and dynamically maps and monitors each step.

Actional SOAPstation is an SOA intermediary that helps reduce the costs and complexity of deploying and managing SOA projects.

Van Huizen said the pairing of Sonics SOA Suite and Actionals products sets up Sonic as the markets leading provider of platform-independent, enterprise-grade SOA infrastructure software.

Jason Bloomberg, an analyst with ZapThink LLC, Waltham, Mass., said: "This acquisition makes sense in many ways. From the point of view of Progress/Sonic, adding the SOA management capabilities rounds out the Sonic ESB product into a suite that more completely addresses the infrastructure requirements of SOA.

"From Actionals perspective, the time of the stand-alone Web Services Management vendor has mostly come and gone, and Actional struggled to grow as an independent vendor in this dynamic marketplace. As part of the Progress team, which will soon include Neon Systems as well, the Actional technology will now be part of a much more complete SOA story."

Van Huizen said that although the Sonic and Actional products already work together, Progress will be doing more to integrate the products, but "mostly for ease of use."

Bud Robertson, chief financial officer at Progress, said he believes revenues from the Actional business unit to more than double in 2007 over 2006.

Progress gained about 35 engineers and a handful of sales people in the deal, the company said.

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