i2 Goes Back to the Singles Bar

It looks as if the marriage of JDA and i2 is not exactly going to happen. Just as fast as you can utter the phrase "Greg Brady and sexual harassment" in the same sentence, JDA has opted out of its agreement to acquire i2. According to the above-linked ZDNet analysis, the deal fell apart. Here's the history: "In August JDA agreed to buy i2 for $346 million, or $14.86 a share, in cash. On Wednesday, i2 shares closed at $7.70. JDA was going to finance the deal with debt to avoid dilution to shareholders. Naturally, JDA wanted to renegotiate because the economy unraveled since the deal was announced. According to a statement, i2 gets a $20 million breakup fee as a consolation prize. The two parties didn't reveal details of their most recent discussions, but there's an uncertain demand picture and both companies have seen their shares plummet."

For those who track i2 in the Spend Management world, it's pretty clear that they've become a custom development shop that leverages pre-built components. Some of the stuff is pretty cool indeed. As I wrote about before, "The crazy thing about i2 and procurement is that they have a number of assets they could deploy and market the heck out of if they choose to do so. From a catalog and master data management system to sourcing and attribute management technology (acquired during the Hologix asset sale), i2 could be a formidable competitor or complement to some of the bigger names in the space." Yet they're no where on the map.

Perhaps this is because their sales and marketing efforts have taken the definition of inept to new levels. Consider the above-linked blog post I wrote from ISM last year. In it, I suggested that "When you're down and out, it's good to find creative ways to cut costs. But whatever marketing genius at i2 decided to splurge for a booth at ISM without investing in suitable mounted collateral and signs clearly was missing a thing or two in his decision. In the first days of the event, someone printed out i2's collateral in black and white and taped it to their booth. But by the third day, they decided to splurge for a color cartridge in the ink jet and voila -- the material was in color! Very professional, I must say."

One wonders whether they'll put the newfound $20 million windfall into color printers. Or maybe a few sales, marketing and product people who understand how to leverage the assets they have.

- Jason Busch

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