IBM And Sequent Announce Merger Agreement

On July 12, IBM and Sequent Computer Systems announced they have entered into a merger agreement in which IBM will pay $18.00 in cash for each outstanding share of Sequent common stock and Sequent will operate as an IBM subsidiary. The transaction, when completed, is expected to have a total equity value of approximately $810 million.

According to Bob Stevenson, senior vice president and group executive of IBM’s server group, the merger will allow IBM and its business partner network to sell Sequent's NUMA-Q 1000 and 2000 through it’s worldwide sales force, incorporate Sequent's NUMA technology into IBM servers and provide IBM middleware support for Sequent's current product line. Stevenson added that the merger will accelerate their joint development team’s work on Project Monterey, which is a joint initiative to create a high-volume, enterprise-ready, commercial UNIX that supports both IBM and Intel architectures.

“We think NUMA will be the defining technology in the 21st century for UNIX servers,” says Stevenson. “With Sequent’s lead in NUMA and UNIX/NT interoperability, we’ll offer the industry’s most complete and comprehensive server line.”

As to its expected reach within IBM, Stevenson says, “NUMA will be pervasive.” He explained that Sequent’s technology and IBM’s RS/6000 product line will work very closely together and he expects to build “NUMA-like capabilities” in to the System 390. This breadth of scalability built into IBM’s server line, he says, will have instant appeal to an evolving application service provider (ASP) market, which IBM sees as an important future opportunity.

As for Sequent, CEO Casey Powell says “The merger ensures we can capitalize on what we’ve done so far [with NUMA] and it puts us in a better position relative to Intel’s IA-64 when it’s released.” He added that while many ISVs have historically been hesitant to support Sequent technology, perceiving it as a limited market opportunity for them, the merger holds more promise for those relationships to develop.

Sequent, headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon, has more than 2500 employees worldwide with 56 sales offices in North America, Europe and Asia. Founded in 1983, it pioneered symmetric multiprocessor (SMP) and NUMA systems for commercial environments.