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Aim Software Acquires ABI Informatic for Customer Base and Technology

Aim Software, vendor of the Gain reference data and risk management platform, has bought competitor ABI Informatic in a deal aimed primarily at acquiring its 25 European customers. Terms of the Jun 4 transaction – announced yesterday – which also gives Aim ABI’s Agio data management platform, weren’t disclosed.

Vienna-based Aim’s CEO Martin Buchberger describes the value of the acquisition to Aim as two-thirds in ABI’s customers – which include the likes of ING in Belgium and UBS in Switzerland – and one-third in its products.

Aim has promised users of ABI’s Agio platform that it will maintain the platform for a considerable time to come, but hopes to migrate them to Gain with little or no fallout in the next year or so. The platforms are based on different technologies – Gain is based on .NET and Agio on a mix of C++ and Java. Buchberger notes a similar range of adaptors to target applications that should allow a lift and replace process when customers decide to move from Agio to Gain.

ABI’s 25 European customers add to a roster of 120 global customers at Aim. In terms of employees, Aim has initially taken on 10 of ABI’s 40 employees, but intends to review this and perhaps take on more over the next few months.

The addition of the former ABI staff gives Aim a total of about 85 employees. This, Aim suggests, may make it, in terms of employees, the largest independent financial data management company in the European market following Bloomberg’s acquisition of PolarLake and Markit’s takeover of Cadis.

Aim first considered the acquisition of ABI while looking across the market in mid-2011, but settled on buying the company back in April. Buchberger explains: “With ABI, we have acquired a suite of reference data management solutions including a golden copy solution for reference data and a corporate actions solution. The Agio platform is similar to our Gain product, but Agio has an interesting toolbox that we could use to add modules to our framework. Gain will be the dominant platform, but Agio will enrich it.”

One short-term benefit of the acquisition perceived by Aim is increased market penetration and a larger pool in which to discover customer needs and develop new products. While the company already offers applications service provision (ASP) hosted services for SAP customers, it also gains a sophisticated ASP solution from ABI called DTax. This provides tax reporting for all portfolios containing German instruments and will be maintained by Aim partner Banking Concepts and developed by Aim. With five ABI customers already using DTax, Buchberger hopes to upsell the service to existing Aim users.

As well as building market share on the back of the ABI acquisition, Aim hopes a two-year-old strategic partnership with SimCorp will help it build market presence. The partnership initially covered joint development of an adaptor to integrate Gain data feeds into SimCorp’s Dimension platform and it has gone on to deliver two UK clients for Aim through indirect sales.

Aim does not have a base in the UK market at present. But it is considering setting up a London office for direct sales while continuing to market to the rest of Europe from offices in Austria, Switzerland, Luxemburg and France, and to work with sales partners in the US and Asia Pacific.

With an eat rather than be eaten approach to company development, Buchberger, an owner of Aim along with other management executives, says 2012 will be about integrating ABI, but that he may look again at potential small company acquisitions in 2013.

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