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Acquisition of the Week: HP and Mercury

Rumors were flying last week about the possibility of HP acquiring Mercury Interactive and yesterday those rumors proved to be true when HP laid out $4.5b in cash for the troubled company.
Mercury was delisted from the Nasdaq earlier this year after failing to file quarterly results within deadlines, which made it one of a handful of companies that were the topic of water-cooler gossip in the tech industry earlier this year.

That was just days before Mercury announced the acquisition of SOA governance vendor Systinet in a move that confounded many a SOA pundit.

HP's acquisition of Mercury, however, makes some amount of sense. HP's network and system management suite, HP OpenView, has long been one of the software juggernauts of the industry - an enterprise standard, if you will - and the addition of Systinet and Mercury's IT Governance Center PPM, which was bolstered by its 2003 acquisition of PPM vendor Kintana, will only serve to complete its management and governance story.

ITPM (IT portfolio management) has been gaining traction as the SOA governance market gains mindshare, primarily because of the synergy existing between the two in terms of ability to measure effectiveness of reuse and associate that reuse with specific projects - a necessity in the PPM market for determining alignment with business and managing budgetary concerns. The ability to integrate SOA governance into a wider PPM - as we assumed was the plan when Mercury acquired Systinet in January - will no doubt be bolstered by HP's already strong system and network management capabilities.

Compuware (acquired Changepoint in 2004) and CA (acquired Niku in 2005) have already integrated their ITPM acquisitions into their wider application management portfolios, leaving HP a bit out in the cold. HP's acquisition of Mercury gives HP the opportunity to play more firmly in this space and move into the wider world of SOA - bringing SOA governance more completely into the fold of systems managed within an ITPM.

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