HP to acquire Novadigm, Consera

Hewlett-Packard Co. continued its strategy of using acquisitions to augment the HP OpenView management software Wednesday, announcing an agreement to buy two management software companies: Novadigm Inc. of Mahwah, N.J., and Consera Software of Bellevue, Wash.

HP intends to combine technologies from the two companies with OpenView, blending technology from Consera that lets businesses map IT resources with automated system configuration management features from Novadigm.

The exact cost of the merger was not disclosed early Wednesday, but HP said it will pay US$6.10 for each outstanding share of Novadigm common stock, putting the purchase price for that company at around US$122 million. The acquisition is expected to close in the first half of 2004, according to Nora Denzel, senior vice-president of HP Adaptive Enterprise.

HP declined to disclose the price it will pay for privately held Consera, but said the acquisition is expected to close within 30 days, and that more details would be available at that time, Denzel said. Both acquisitions are subject to shareholder approval, Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP said.

The two acquisitions follow a string of recent purchases, including Web-based user identity management software from Baltimore Technologies PLC in September 2003 and information lifecycle management company Persist Technologies Inc. in November 2003.

At a press conference Wednesday, Denzel called management software the “next battleground for IT,” and said that the Consera and Novadigm acquisitions will give OpenView customers the ability to put IT management on “cruise control,” with Consera’s IT service-modeling technology analyzing how different IT components interact, then calling on the Novadigm module to make the appropriate configuration changes.

The purchases underscore HP’s focus on turning OpenView customers into what Denzel termed “adaptive enterprises” by adding automated management features to replace tedious, manual processes such as applying software patches to systems, she said.

With most IT changes handled by automated processes in OpenView, IT administrators can focus on high-priority items such as unusual configuration changes or software updates that must be performed manually, she said.

Both the Consera and Novadigm technologies will adopt the OpenView brand, but be sold as separate modules. Customers will be able to buy just the Consera or Novadigm technologies or any combination of the two with the rest of the OpenView suite, Denzel said.

All the OpenView products will continue to support other management products, she said.

The announcement of the acquisitions cast a shadow over HP’s long-time relationship with IT lifecycle management software company Altiris Inc. The companies have a partnership that involves joint marketing and sales as well as technology development.

HP currently resells Altiris’ entire line of IT lifecycle management products and uses Altiris tools in its professional services organization. At the same time, Altiris is a recommended partner for HP OpenView customers, with native support for a variety of HP OpenView modules including Network Node Manager, Operations and Service Desk, according to Altiris.

Asked about the seeming conflict between its purchases and the Altiris relationship, Denzel said that the acquisitions won’t change its relationship with Altiris. The company is a valued part of HP’s Professional Services Group, which will continue to use Altiris products, she said.

HP service representatives will continue to install and configure Altiris products for “customers who want it,” Denzel said.

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