ATG picks up CRM vendor Primus

Art Technology Group Inc. Tuesday announced plans to acquire Primus Knowledge Solutions Inc. in an all-stock transaction valued between US$30 million and US$33 million.

ATG makes e-commerce and marketing software aimed at companies in business-to-consumer industries. Primus offers knowledge management tools, including content management and search technologies, as well as Web self-service tools for customer service.

The pairing of e-commerce and CRM technologies makes sense, and ATG has been working to add marketing and customer self-service to its lineup, says Ian Jacobs, a principal analyst at Current Analysis. The Primus deal will result in a stronger, hybrid e-commerce/CRM offering for customers, he says.

“You’d need to be a blind camel in Arabia to not see that e-commerce needs CRM elements to succeed, and ATG is taking that need seriously,” Jacobs says. Additionally, ATG didn’t spend a lot to get Primus, “so on a bang-for-the-buck scale, this is a solid move,” he says.

The Primus acquisition — which ATG expects to close in the fourth quarter — will be ATG’s first acquisition since June 2000, when it picked up consulting services providers Petronio Technology Group and Toronto Technology Group. For its part, Primus has been more acquisitive lately: It bought Amacis Group, which makes e-mail response management software, in December and Broad Daylight, an e-service vendor, in August 2003.

For the 12 months ended June 30, the two companies had combined revenue of US$90 million. The combined company is expected to generate more than US$100 million in revenue in 2005. Additionally, ATG expects to cut expenses by US$15 million annually, beginning next year, through workforce efficiencies, facilities consolidation and the merging of the two companies’ accounting, legal and regulatory functions.

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