VANs: Evolving Or Devolving?

The potential impact of the Internet on the revenue model of EDI's traditional value-added networks did not go unnoticed by the financial markets. While some EDI services, units of IBM Corp. and EDS for example, have remained within the corporate fold, others have not. Here's a look at some recent industry turmoil.

  • Global eXchange Services (GXS) (Gaithersburg, Maryland): Sold by General Electric Co. to private-capital fund Francisco Partners in June 2002 for $800 million. GE retains a 10% ownership in GXS, which continues to operate the GE Global Supplier Network, reportedly one of the world's largest private marketplaces.
  • Sterling Commerce (Dublin, Ohio): One of the largest value-added networks, Sterling was bought by SBC Communications in March 2000 near the peak of the Internet bubble for $3.9 billion. According to recent news reports, the unit is being shopped around by SBC in an effort to reduce the company's debt load. Current price tag: around $1 billion.
  • Inovis (Altanta): The private firm has an 18-year history with EDI that began with the 1984 formation of Harbinger Corp., which was purchased by San Diego-based Peregrine Systems Inc. in mid-2000. Combined with Extricity Inc., which Peregrine acquired in March of 2001, the operation was sold to private-equity firm Golden Gate Capital in June 2002 and subsequently renamed. Estimated annual revenues: $100 million.
  • EasyLink Services Corporation (Edison, N.J.): In February 2001 Mail.com acquired Swift Telecommunications Inc., which concurrently acquired AT&T's EasyLink Services messaging and transaction business. Several months later the combined businesses adopted the Easylink moniker. Year-end 2001 sales: $124 million.
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