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Progress buys eXcelon for $24 million

Eric B. Parizo, Executive Editor

E-business software maker Progress Software Corp. today announced an agreement to acquire XML tools and data management specialist eXcelon Corp. for $24 million, or $3.19 per share, in an all-cash transaction.

A press release issued this morning stated Progress's intention to integrate eXcelon and its products with Sonic Software Corp., an integration and Web services subsidiary that Progress already owns.

The companies said that, within the next 6 to 12 months, eXcelon's business process management technologies, its Stylus Studio development environment and its eXtensible Information Server XML storage, query and caching technology will be merged with Sonic Software's SonicXQ integration platform. Initial product bundles are slated for availability during the first quarter of 2003.

"The acquisition of eXcelon strengthens Sonic's enterprise service bus and brings us closer to our goal of providing the ideal software platform for all levels of distributed, standards-based integration," said Joseph Alsop, CEO of Progress Software, in a written statement.

"Progress has a big business building mid-market software for ISVs, and as part of that they need to modernize their infrastructure," said Frank Gillett, principal analyst with Forrester Research in Cambridge. Mass.

"What Progress is getting is some object-oriented capabilities ... and the XML database capabilities in one shot, so it allows them to apply those technologies to improve their core development

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environment," Gillett said.

According to Progress, the boards of directors of both companies have unanimously approved the acquisition, though it is subject to the approval of eXcelon's stockholders. The sale is expected to close within 90 days, but the impact of this acquisition on Progress Software's fiscal 2003 results will depend on the timing of the closing.

In July, Progress announced a two-year strategy for building a complete Web services environment. It planned to leverage messaging middleware from Sonic to deliver tools accessible via the company's development environment.

Both eXcelon and Progress are based in eastern Massachusetts; Progress in Bedford and eXcelon in Burlington.

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