IBM will pay cash for the division – it has $20 billion stashed away in its coffers to make other acquisitions over the next five years.
Sterling Commerce provides business to business products and services and has over 18,000 customers worldwide in the financial services, retail, manufacturing, comms and distribution industries.
Big Blue said Sterling Commerce services complement its own middleware portfolio and it thinks will be able to create a number of products that will operate across its own and Sterling’s customer base.
And IBM is betting big on cloud computing – Sterling Commerce has tools that connect suppliers and clients and much of that will be done “in the cloud”.
AT&T said that the acquisition will not affect its already close alliance with IBM. IBM is its biggest customer.
Ray Wilkins, CEO of AT&T Diversified Business, said Sterling Commerce has a solid business base, developing network and cloud based data storage and managed hosting, application and computing services.
The 2,500 employees of Sterling Commerce will be “integrated” into IBM’s Websphere organisation.