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CDC buys Saratoga Systems

CDC has added Saratoga to its portfolio of CRM companies. Saratoga joins other recent acquisitions Pivotal and Respond.

CDC Software continued its expansion into the CRM market yesterday, signing an agreement to acquire Campbell, Calif.-based Saratoga Systems Inc.

While the sheer volume and money involved pales in comparison to purchased Respond, a U.K.-based feedback management vendor in February and, following a drawn-out battle with Onyx Corp. in 2004, bid for Onyx, a deal in which it ultimately lost out to M2M Holdings Inc.

Terms of the deal with Saratoga were not released. Saratoga has 355 customers and about $25 million in annual revenues, according to CDC. The acquisition should be completed within two weeks.

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Saratoga Systems will be maintained as a separate entity within CDC, offering vertically specific CRM software and being developed separately, according to Bruce McIntyre, a CDC executive who will take over as general manager of Saratoga.

"We are developing discrete CRM products," McIntyre said. "The Saratoga platform has been developed as evolutionary platform for customer base as a .NET shop. It will continue on in that process moving forward."

Saratoga has applications designed for and used by large companies in chemicals, consumer products, energy, insurance and select manufacturing. Pivotal's CRM application is strong in home building, asset management and capital markets.

"CDC certainly has the financial wherewithal to capitalize Saratoga in a substantive way," said Liz Roche, managing partner with Stamford, Conn.-based Customers Incorporated. "Saratoga has needed an infusion of capital to bring its architecture to where others are in the space."

Roche does not see Saratoga as a highly vertically specific application, however.

"It may have been in consumer products companies, but it didn't really have a lot of consumer products functionality," she said. "I saw it really as much more sales automation and much more entrenched in small and medium sized business. I saw more of it in financial services that brought it in 10 or 15 years ago."

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