ATG to acquire Primus

ATG is hoping to create one of the largest online commerce and service software companies. According to one analyst, the acquisition will help the company "complete the loop" in the customer management lifecycle.

Art Technology Group Inc. plans to acquire customer-service software specialist Primus Knowledge Solutions Inc.

in a stock deal valued at roughly $30 million.

The acquisition, expected to close in the fourth quarter, is one of the larger deals to hit the consolidating e-service industry in the last year. According to ATG, for the 12-month period ending on June 30, the two companies had combined revenue of more than $90 million.

Cambridge, Mass.-based ATG makes e-commerce and marketing applications, with a particular emphasis on content management. Primus, headquartered in Seattle, focuses on technical support software, especially high-tech maintenance. Its main competitors are companies like iPhrase Technologies Inc. and Kanisa Inc.

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"It's a very comfortable fit and a very smart move by ATG," according to Allen Bonde, president of Allen Bonde Group Inc., a Wellesley Hills, Mass.-based consultancy.

The Primus acquisition comes on the heels of ATG's February rollout of its Adaptive Customer Assistance self-service software. This should accelerate the company's move into self-service, Bonde said.

Unlike some competitors, Bonde said ATG can now "complete the loop" in the customer management life cycle -- serving as a single vendor for online sales to post-transaction service technology.

The acquisition is subject to shareholder approval. Once combined, the companies expect to save $10 million to $15 million in expenses.

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