HP beefs up BTO offerings with acquisition of Bristol Technology


HP announced Monday that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Bristol as a way to beef up its business technology optimization (BTO) product offerings.

The vendor didn’t reveal the financial terms of the deal.

Bristol’s TransactionVision software helps customers monitor complex business transactions ranging from insurance claim processes to product orders and inventory management. Users can manage processes running on J2EE or .Net application servers as well as processes running on mainframes.

With Bristol under its belt, HP said it will be better positioned to provide users with end-to-end management of their real-time business transactions and extend its HP Business Availability Center business service and application management software to the mainframe.

The move will enable HP to better compete with rivals BMC Software Inc., CA Inc. and IBM Corp. in providing software to manage desktops, servers and mainframes, according to Ramin Sayar, director of products with HP Software. More and more users are looking for a single vendor to meet all of their IT management needs, he said Monday.

HP and Bristol are already partners. Bristol’s TransactionVision software is integrated with HP’s Business Availability Center and its Universal Configuration Management Database (CMDB) software, both of which were products HP acquired when it purchased Mercury Interactive last year.

As part of an ongoing company-wide restructuring effort designed to make the vendor more competitive and efficient, HP has been revamping its software business, creating a number of focused units. In December, following the completion of its US$4.5 billion acquisition of Mercury, HP created a BTO unit to bring together Mercury’s application management software with HP’s OpenView systems and network management technologies.

Mercury had been working with Bristol for over 18 months to extend Business Availability Center to middleware and the mainframe, Sayar said. He was previously with Mercury. At the same time, HP was pursuing a similar path looking for a vendor that could help broaden the mainframe support of its OpenView software. Once HP acquired Mercury, the vendor realized Bristol would meet its OpenView needs as well, he added.

Founded in 1991, privately held Bristol has its headquarters in Danbury, Connecticut, and the majority of its customers are financial services and insurance companies in the U.S. and the U.K., including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida Inc.

Bristol started off as a provider of cross-platform development tools with its Wind/U offering, which is still in use, for porting Windows applications to Unix and Linux. In 1998, the vendor began to change its focus to also encompass enterprise software. HP plans to continue supporting Bristol’s development tools, although the vendor doesn’t view that software as core technology for HP, Sayar said.

Subject to closing conditions, HP expects to complete the acquisition within the next 30 days. At that point, Bristol will become part of the HP Software unit inside the vendor’s Technology Solutions Group. HP intends to take on most of Bristol’s staff and maintain the company’s Danbury site for at least a year, Sayar said. The vendor is particularly interested in R&D (research and development) work Bristol is engaged in that may appear in future HP products, he added. However, Sayar declined to comment on the specifics of Bristol’s R&D projects.


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