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Call center consolidation continues as Verint buys Witness

The combination of Verint and Witness could challenge Aspect for domination of the rapidly consolidating workforce optimization technology market.

Verint Systems Inc. today announced that it will acquire Witness Systems Inc., bringing together its business intelligence, speech and data analytics with Witness's workforce optimization (WFO) technology.

Melville, N.Y.-based Verint will pay $27.50 per share for Roswell, Ga.-based Witness, or roughly $950 million. The deal is targeted to close in the second quarter of 2007, pending approval by stockholders and regulators. Comverse Technology Inc., Verint's majority stockholder, is purchasing $293 million in perpetual preferred stock from Verint to finance the deal. @32142

The technology from the combined company would include quality monitoring, Internet protocol recording, multimedia interaction capture, speech and data analytics, performance management, contact center and enterprise workforce management, e-learning, e-coaching and customer feedback management. Witness acquired Amae software, an enterprise feedback management software vendor, in December.

"By adding analytics to [Witness's] offering, these functions will be enhanced, because now you have the ability to look into each customer interaction and enhance the way agents are scheduled, [enhance] e-learning and improve the customer experience," Dan Bodner, CEO of Verint, said on a conference call with investors and analysts.

The new company would also extend analytics and workforce management beyond the contact center.

"Witness is the platform for us to deliver this intelligence to the contact center and beyond to the enterprise," Bodner said.

The combined companies will transform the market dynamics for call center software, according to Donna Fluss, principal with West Orange, N.J.-based DMG Consulting. Verint's and Witness's combined revenues bring it on par with Aspect Communications Inc. at the top of the market for WFO technology

"This makes a lot of sense -- now we have two major players in this market," Fluss said. "The market is consolidating at the top so we now have a major split between No. 1 and No. 2 and the rest. There are still over 45 vendors out there."

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