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NICE buys IEX, Performix

NICE Systems made a significant move into the contact center workforce management market today, announcing plans to acquire two leading vendors.

Aiming to create a "third major space" in the market for contact center technology, NICE Systems Ltd. today announced...

plans to significantly enhance its offerings with the acquisitions of IEX, a workforce management applications provider, and Performix, a performance management applications provider.

IEX and Performix's workforce and performance management tools will be combined with Israel-based NICE's recording and analytics tools to complement the existing technology markets for the contact center -- the telephone and networking market, made up of such companies as Avaya and Cisco, and the CRM market, represented by companies such as Siebel, according to Haim Shani, CEO of NICE.

"Now we have an opportunity to create a third space in the contact center market with business performance and analytics," Shani said. "The tools NICE has developed in the last three years and [those] Performix has worked to develop in this market made it very attractive." @20634

NICE will acquire the shares of Richardson, Texas-based IEX Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Tekelec, for approximately $200 million in cash. It will acquire Burlington, Mass.-based Performix Technologies for $13.2 million. That figure may be increased by $6.15 million, based on certain performance criteria. Both acquisitions are subject to customary closing conditions and are expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter or beginning of the third quarter this year.

The move is expected to increase the company's contact center business by more than 30%.

The acquisitions brings NICE into more direct competition with Witness Systems, which purchased Blue Pumpkin in January 2005, bringing Blue Pumpkin's workforce management tools together with Witness's quality monitoring and performance management.

"I think it's very significant. It's really showing that these standalone software vendors providing services are not providing a complete solution," said Elizabeth Herrell, research vice president with Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research. "Once Witness bought Blue Pumpkin and said, 'Now we have all the components,' I always wondered how long these other vendors were going to stand still."

NICE will combine IEX's TotalView application and Performix's tools with the NICE Perform suite, released in the fourth quarter of 2004. Together they will offer "a holistic view of the enterprise," with interactions capture, quality monitoring, interaction analytics, coaching, forecasting, strategic planning, and performance, according to the company.

"Through these acquisitions, we are redefining the contact center business performance and analytics market and expanding our position as the undisputed leader," Shani said in a statement. "We are accelerating the execution of our strategy to lead the revolution in the contact center and enterprise."

Much of the success of the deal will rest on NICE's ability to integrate the applications, and the company offered little in the way of a product roadmap or integration details today.

In a conference call with analysts today, Shani said that the company would "take a rest this weekend" and continue to look to grow the company, which is also seeing success in selling homeland security recording and analysis technology.

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