Pivotal Closes Its Dance Card


The belle of the CRM ball has finally picked a dance partner. After months of being courted by three suitors, Pivotal has chosen Chinadotcom subsidiary CDC Software as its acquirer. Pivotal will operate as a distinct business unit of the Hong Kong company.

The acquisition by CDC will provide Pivotal with the resources needed to dramatically boost growth-related spending, said Pivotal's president and CEO, Bo Manning. This includes increasing Pivotal's technical support staff by up to 40 percent, resuming new hires for its R&D organization, and increasing its marketing budget by up to 200 percent. Manning also said he expects to beef up the company's channel.

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%A0SAGA OF AN ACQUISTION
>>%A0Oct. 8: Pivotal announces its acquisition by Oak Investment Partners/Talisma
>>%A0Nov. 12: Onyx Software launches unsolicited all-stock bid
>>%A0Nov. 14: Pivotal's board rejects Onyx bid
>>%A0Nov. 18: Chinadotcom subsidiary CDC Software tenders conditional proposal to acquire Pivotal
>>%A0Nov. 28: Pivotal's board declines CDC offer
>>%A0Dec. 1: Pivotal's board deems CDC bid a 'superior offer
>>%A0Dec. 5: Onyx official withdraws bid, offers Pivotal customers a one-for-one swap for licenses
>>%A0Dec. 8: Pivotal board accepts CDC offer

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That could be good news for Pivotal's solution providers, even if relatively few have heard of CDC. For many of these partners, such as Berry Berlin, president of Client Interaction, Newton, Mass., CDC is a great unknown. Berlin said he has no idea how the acquisition will affect his business, although his clients are relieved that Pivotal CRM rival Onyx Software didn't win.

"My clients were afraid [Onyx] would buy the company just for its client list," he said.

Manning said Pivotal will be targeting more vertical applications and giving "extra attention around recruiting and building partnerships in North America." Pivotal recently began offering CRM software for the financial-services, health-care, home-building and medical-device manufacturing industries.

Under the agreement, CDC will acquire all outstanding shares of publicly traded Pivotal, Vancouver, Canada. Pivotal shareholders can choose to receive either $2 a share in cash, or $1 in cash plus $1.14 worth of Chinadotcom shares.

CDC's deep pockets appear to have played some role in the troubled company's final choice.

Such financial stability likely would not have been as strong with Pivotal's other suitors.

Pivotal had originally announced in early October that it had been acquired by venture-capital firm Oak Investment Partners in a friendly bid of $1.78 a share.

Pivotal's shareholders were set to vote Dec. 9 on Oak's bid when Onyx and CDC tendered their offers.