SAP acquires A2i

German business software vendor SAP AG has bought the privately held software company A2i Inc., in an effort to broaden the data management capabilities of its NetWeaver platform, the company announced Tuesday.

A2i, based in Los Angeles, develops and markets xCat, a platform for product content management and cross-media catalog publishing. One of its most popular products, the Data ManagementA2i xCat, is an enterprise-class catalogue system designed to allow a user to easily build, structure and query very large catalogues.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed by the Walldorf, Germany, vendor.

Specifically, SAP intends to take A2i’s xCat suite and blend it into NetWeaver as SAP Master Data Management (SAP MDM). The updated product will be available to users either late in the third quarter or in the fourth quarter of this year, SAP said.

Improvements that the A2i technology to the NetWeaver product will include improved support for product content management, more powerful data aggregation, improved Web-based electronic catalogues and new functions such as high-performance search, image and document management and print catalogue publishing, SAP said.

A2i, founded in 1993, employs engineers in Los Angeles and Israel. In a separate announcement, A2i’s president, Paul Weinberg, said the company’s operations in L.A. and Israel will continue in the same facilities, but now as part of SAP Labs. Any potential lay-offs within A2i were not disclosed. A2i was originally an acronym for “Analog to Interactive,” according to the company’s Web site.

Current A2i customers include GE Appliances (owned by General Electric Co.), McMaster-Carr Supply Co. (which publishes a catalog containing over 225,000 industrial items), Rubbermaid Commercial Products (owned by Newell Rubbermaid Inc.) and Wilson Industries Inc. (a provider of parts and supplies to petroleum, refining and industrial customers).

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