IBM buys Sterling Commerce for US$1.4 billion

Big blue acquires business-to-business supply chain software company from AT&T, adds it to WebSphere middleware unit.

IBM on Monday acquired Sterling Commerce from AT&T for US$1.4 billion. Big Blue said it will lump Sterling Commerce and its 2,500 employees in with its WebSphere middleware unit.

The move means that Sterling Commerce has another home inside of a large company. Sterling Commerce, which provides business-to-business supply chain, integration and fulfillment software, was acquired by SBC Communications in 2000 for US$3.9 billion. SBC was later acquired by AT&T in 2005. As a unit in AT&T, Sterling Communications continued to make selective acquisitions to round out its e-business portfolio.

According to a statement, IBM will use Sterling Commerce’s business to create more supplier automation tools for customers via on-premise applications or cloud computing. IBM CEO Sam Palmisano said two weeks ago that the company would spend about US$20 billion on acquisitions through 2015.

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