Oracle snaps up supply chain management vendor

Oracle Corp. is to acquire yet another business applications vendor, this time scooping up supply chain management company Demantra Inc. for an undisclosed sum, Oracle announced Thursday.

Demantra’s software includes analytics tools that help big businesses forecast demand for their products, as well as applications for planning sales and promotional activities. Its customers include fast food outlet Wendy’s International Inc., consumer goods maker Unilever Group and pharmaceutical conglomerate Johnson & Johnson Inc.

Oracle hopes to close the acquisition later this month subject to closing conditions, it said. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

It’s the latest in a string of acquisitions by Oracle to broaden its applications division and help it compete more effectively with main rival SAP AG. Oracle is also in the process of buying billing applications vendor Portal Software Inc. for about US$220 million. Other purchases include i-flex Solutions, which makes banking applications, and Retek Inc. and ProfitLogic Inc., which make software for the retail industry.

They’re in addition to its multibillion-dollar purchases of PeopleSoft Inc. early last year and Siebel Systems Inc. in January. With Demantra, Oracle will have bought 20 companies in the past 18 months, according to its Web site.

The deals have brought it hundreds of new customers and software expertise in industries such as banking and retail, but analysts have also pointed to the challenges of integrating all the companies and their products under one roof. SAP’s strategy, by contrast, has been to grow its business organically, with only a handful of targeted acquisitions.

Demantra was founded in 1996 and is based in Waltham, Massachusetts, with offices in the Netherlands, Australia and Israel. It has about 140 customers, many of which are in the consumer goods, media and entertainment, manufacturing and fast-food industries.

Its demand management software uses algorithms to help manufacturers and retailers predict demand for their products based on seasonality, holidays and long-term trends, as well as promotions and pricing changes. The idea is to keep inventory and distribution costs low while keeping customers satisfied.

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