Emptoris shrugs off possible fine, goes shopping

Contact: Brenon Daly

A little more than four months after selling to Marlin Equity Partners, Emptoris reached into the deep pockets of its buyout shop owner to fund its first acquisition: the recent pickup of the contract and service management business from Click Commerce. The deal was part of a larger divestiture of Click Commerce by Illinois Tool Works (ITW), effectively unwinding its September 2006 acquisition. In all, three Click Commerce units went to Marlin, with only the contract and service management unit getting slotted under Emptoris.

As we noted when ITW announced the divestiture last October, Click Commerce was a puzzling purchase for ITW, a 96-year-old company that makes everything from commercial ovens to industrial packing tape to arc welders. ITW paid $292m for Click Commerce in 2006. Although terms weren’t disclosed, we understand that the unit Emptoris acquired was generating some $15m in sales. With the additional revenue, we estimate that Emptoris would be running north of $50m.

Whatever size the check that Emptoris wrote for the Click Commerce division, we would note that one insider at rival Ariba quipped that Emptoris better not spend all ‘our’ money. The Ariba source was needling its rival about the fact that a patent lawsuit between the two companies is currently in the final stages. A jury has awarded – and the court has affirmed – some $6m in damages to Ariba. Emptoris is appealing the judgment.