NCR Acquires Ceres Integrated Solutions

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NCR Corporation , Dayton, OH a relationship management solutions company, said yesterday it acquired Ceres Integrated Solutions, Raleigh, NC a customer relationship management solutions vendor focused on the retail market.

The cash and stock transaction is valued at approximately $90 million. As part of the transaction, NCR also acquires the 25 percent stake in Ceres owned by Acxiom Corporation, Conway, AK, since June 1998. Acxiom will continue as a partner to the new NCR division.

Under the terms of the agreement, NCR's Relationship Optimizer CRM suite and Ceres' intelligent operational software and analytical services will be sold as an integrated solution within the NCR CRM Solutions Division. In general, Ceres will give RO more robust target market segmentation and campaign management functions. On the other hand, Ceres' CRM applications will be fully optimized around the Teradata active data warehouse, which is fast and fully-scalable.

"By getting both products together, we advance the road map of each product significantly," said Mark Hurd, senior vice president, NCR's data warehousing group. "If Relationship Optimizer stayed on its own, it would have taken us a long time to get all the features and functionality that [is] already part of Ceres' solution."

The solution will allow companies to analyze customer behavior from many dimensions and send timely, personal, multi-channel offers to targeted customers. The new division will be based in Raleigh and the solution will be extended across industry lines and is expected to drive sales of new data warehouses and expand existing warehouses.

Peter Heffring, president and co-founder of Ceres, will head the new NCR division. As part of the data warehousing group, the new division will be supported by NCR's global data warehousing sales force and professional services consultants as well as a growing set of channel partners.

"Our combined development team will quadruple in size, thus increasing our speed to market with superior data warehousing and CRM solutions for all customers, especially those engaged in e-business," said Hurd.

NCR and Ceres have a partnership that already serves customers such as Wal Mart, Lowe's, Kmart, Office Depot and Wells Fargo Bank. Ceres works with clients such as Eddie Bauer, Blockbuster, JCPenney, Marks & Spencer, Federated Department Stores and Neiman Marcus. NCR's Relationship Optimizer customers include Bank of America, Continental Airlines, KT Freetel, National Australia Bank, and Union Bank of Norway.

"NCR's Relationship Optimizer and Ceres deliver a complete end-to-end customer relationship management suite, providing us with strong differentiation over competitors such as Xchange, Inc., Prime Response and E.piphany," said Heffring. "We will focus on the Teradata and Oracle database platforms for best-of-breed application and performance."

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