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Acquisition of the Week: webMethods and Infravio

webMethods, Inc. (Nasdaq: WEBM) today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire privately-held Infravio, Inc. for approximately $38 million in cash. The deal is expected to close during the month of September 2006 and it is anticipated to be accretive to webMethods' earnings per share (EPS) beginning with the quarter ending March 31, 2007.
We postulated two weeks ago that the buying spree was not over and we were right - but we didn't anticipate that webMethods would join in the fun.

They have, and that leaves Logic Library, Sun, and the jointly developed SoftwareAG-Fujitsu CentraSite solution as the remaining stand-alone registry/repository - or as Infravio likes to call them now, "Governance Foundations" - on the market. The latter is part of a larger SOA suite offered by SoftwareAG, Sun is Sun, and LogicLibrary is strongly focused on design-time - an unlikely purchase for Oracle or IBM, both of whom are still without their "own" governance solution.

webMethods indicates it will integrate Infravio's X-Registry into its webMethods Fabric(TM) product suite and indicates in its official FAQ that Infravio's products are available immediately and will continue to be sold and supported on a standalone basis both before and after the acquisition is completed. That's good news to hear.

Depending on HP's decisions on what to do with its Mercury acquisition, in which governance vendor Systinet was taken along for the ride, there may be few options left for the enterprise in terms of stand-alone governance solutions. That could be bad news for the enterprise, as the loose coupling between SOA infrastructure solutions offered a best-of-breed approach to implementing an SOA strategy. Without strong, stand-alone governance offerings, the decision regarding governance is made more difficult and essentially becomes a non-choice as you'll get whatever your middleware vendor ships to you as part of their product.

Sun's Service Registry and its open source partner, freebXML, remain stand-alone options, but neither is likely to serve all markets equally well and if Infravio and Systinet do not remain stand-alone product offerings there will certainly be a huge hole in the market into which a new player could easily slip and emerge as a key player in the future.