Oracle Buys Art Technology Group For $1B; ATG Founder Joe Chung Expresses Pride, Nostalgia
[Updated 11/2/10 2:00 pm ET. See below] Cambridge, MA-based Art Technology Group, which develops software platforms for e-commerce websites, announced today that it will be bought by Redwood Shores, CA-based database giant Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) for a total of $1 billion in cash, at $6 per share. ATG (NASDAQ: ARTG) saw its stock price climb more than 45 percent today on the news of the acquisition, to hit $5.96 per share as of 10:52 am ET. The acquisition, which is subject to shareholder and regulatory approval, is expected to close early next year.
ATG was founded by Joe Chung (an Xconomist) and Jeet Singh in late 1991, went public in 1999, and is one of the few New England dot-com era darlings to have weathered the tech crash. “Of course one always feels a bit of nostalgia at the wedding, but mainly I feel really happy and proud,” Chung told Xconomy in an e-mail this morning of his reaction to the acquisition news. “ATG has always had and continues to have awesome people and awesome products—Oracle is [a] great fit!”
But the Oracle acquisition news took him a bit by surprise. “The irony is that I heard the rumor flying around last week, but the ATG is being bought by X (fill in your favorite enterprise software company of various eras here) rumor flew around consistently pretty much from the day Jeet and I took it public, so I didn’t think much of it!” says Chung, who founded another e-commerce-focused software company, Allurent, with a crop of ATG veterans in late 2004.
[Updated to include comments from Singh.] One company could have bought ATG for $20 million at one point, “but they passed, thank goodness,” Singh told us in an e-mail. The context surrounding the Oracle acquisition makes sense, given when the company started, he said. “We founded the firm on very little ($5000) in a very bad economic time (1991). I suppose it’s fitting that it got acquired during a difficult period as well.”
ATG’s retail and e-commerce technology is complementary to Oracle’s strengths in customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning, and other areas. Assuming the deal goes through, we’ll be watching to see how well the integration works out, and where the companies go from here.