Actuate joins BI buying binge

Company swallows EII player Nimble

Actuate has joined in this summer's BI software company feeding frenzy, announcing its acquisition of Seattle-based data integration products developer Nimble Technology. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The so-called BI sector of data analysis tools is one of the software market niches that analysts say is primed for consolidation. Last week, for instance, Hyperion announced plans to buy Brio Software for $142 million, just days after Business Objects said it would acquire Crystal Decisions for $820 million.

"There's a certain level of maturity in the market, where a number of vendors are competing to meet similar requirements from a range of clients," said John Hagerty, an analyst at AMR Research in Boston.

"BI market is ripe for consolidation," Hagerty wrote in a research note, adding that the recent acquisitions will benefit customers by reducing the number of niche vendors and incorporating all their needs under a single vendor.

"The user community is very interested in seeing this happen. They're looking to reduce the number of suppliers they have," Hagerty said.

South San Francisco, Calif.-based Actuate makes software that allows organizations to create analysis and reporting applications. The company said it will incorporate Nimble's XML-based EII (enterprise information integration) technology into its own Actuate 7 platform to further Actuate's software integration with a range of XML-enabled systems.

The technology in the Nimble Integration Suite will help Actuate customers create analysis applications tapping disparate data sources such as databases, Web pages, proprietary systems, and data warehouses, the companies said.

Actuate's CEO Pete Cittadini said that the acquisition helps Actuate move closer to providing a single BI platform that enables customers to build and deploy applications that leverage data for analytical purposes.

The combination of the two products is scheduled for completion in six to nine months, according to an Actuate spokeswoman.

Copyright © 2003 IDG Communications, Inc.