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IBM to Buy VMS Provider

December 15 2011

International Business Machines Corp. announced a deal to buy Emptoris Inc., a contract management software company whose products include a vendor management system for contingent labor. Terms of the transaction were not announced. Emptoris is owned by Marlin Equity Partners.

Emptoris’ VMS ranked as the third largest VMS in terms of statement of work (SOW) spend and as the largest in terms of outsourced service contract spend, according to the 2011 VMS and MSP Supplier Competitive Landscape report by Staffing Industry Analysts.

The acquisition is part of IBM’s “Smarter Commerce” initiative begun in March 2011 and aimed at helping companies respond to shifting customer buying patterns.

“Procurement is being asked to show how it can deliver value to the organization,” said Craig Hayman, general manager of industry solutions at IBM. “Adding Emptoris strengthens the comprehensive capabilities we deliver and enables IBM to meet the specific needs of chief procurement officers.”

Emptoris has more than 350 customers in 75 countries and is based in Burlington, Mass.

The acquisition is anticipated to close in the first quarter of 2012.

Emptoris’ staffing VMS at one time was part of a firm called Click Commerce Inc., a portion of which was acquired by Emptoris in 2009. At the time, Click Commerce’s VMS ranked as the largest with $4.64 billion in spend, according to Staffing Industry Analysts. Emptoris had acquired the pieces of Click Commerce from Illinois Tool Works Inc.

In 2006, Click Commerce had paid $15 million in cash and stock for VMS technology from Elance Inc., a Mountain View, Calif.-based firm that now provides services for companies and individuals seeking to hire independent contractors online.

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