Infor Is Buying This Business Intelligence Player To Take On Oracle

Infor, the privately held business software company backed by $2.5 billion from Koch Industries, is acquiring business intelligence specialist Birst.

Terms of the deal, announced Tuesday, were not disclosed, although sources put the price at about $100 million.

Business intelligence, or BI, is a blanket term for technology that helps companies organize and query their data to help them improve operations and make more money.

This is a hot area since so many companies are awash in data from their operations and need to make sense of it. Companies like Birst promise to help them clean that data by reducing duplications and errors, and then ask questions of it—presenting the results in a hopefully understandable way.

Infor, which makes accounting, finance, and manufacturing management software competes with Oracle and SAP (SAP). And its CEO, Charles Phillips, formerly president of Oracle (ORCL), isn’t shy about taking on industry giants.

Last month, he formed a partnership with Marketo, the marketing technology company, to help it compete better with those companies as well asSalesforce (CRM). All of those software companies trying to sell software to help marketing professionals target their pitches across email and other channels and then track how the campaigns do.

San Francisco-based Birst, founded in 2004, has raised about $130 million in funding from Sequoia Capital, Wellington Management, and others.

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“The founders of Birst have a deep BI pedigree,” Phillips said in a statement, adding that Birst’s team including co-founders Brad Peters and Paul Staelin, previously built Siebel Systems’ business intelligence technology. Siebel was bought by Oracle in 2006.

Birst claims such name-brand customers as American Express Global Business Travel, Kellogg’s, and Schneider Electric.

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