Big news in ecommerce last week. On November 2, Oracle announced its intention to acquire ATG. This is a $1 billion acquisition that will close during 1Q2011 when Oracle buys all of ATG’s stock at $6.00 per share. $1 billion is about five times ATG’s current revenue. The $6.00 price per share is almost a 50 percent premium over recent share prices.
The companies describe the rationale for the acquisition as their approach to addressing the requirement for cross-channel commerce, a requirement driven by a convergence of online and traditional commerce. That approach is a unified CRM, retail and commerce platform. Oracle has the CRM and retail systems. ATG brings the commerce, commerce that includes merchandising and customer service as well as the traditional catalog, shopping cart, transaction processing, and account management.
The rationale makes sense. There is absolutely a cross-channel commerce requirement. Ecommerce suppliers had begun to address in the past two or three years with merchandising, shopping carts, and transaction support on mobile channels, social channels. They’ve also begun to support the contact center channel with offerings that put the standard ecommerce applications on agents desktops with added capabilities for order management, returns and refunds, and account management. ATG Commerce already supported mobile and social channels. ATG Commerce Service Center, an add-on feature, provided contact center support. (We evaluated it in March 2008.) However, ATG Commerce does not provide the marketing, sales, customer service, and account management capabilities of CRM systems. It also does not have the order management and distribution capabilities of retail systems. That’s the stuff that Oracle brings to the deal. In time, a unified, cross-channel commerce, CRM, and retail platform could result.