Emptoris, a provider of supply and contract management technology will publicly announce the acquisition of the Contract and Services Management business of Click Commerce in a press release tomorrow.  Services and Contract Management was one of four businesses at Click Commerce, acquired in 2006 from Elance.  The application supports the acquisition of contingent labor and other services contract management processes under the procurement umbrella.  Financial terms have not been disclosed at this point.

Emptoris came under the wing of Marlin Equity Partners in January, shortly after a patent litigation settlement with rival Ariba.  Marlin invested equity in Emptoris to not only help defray the cost of the legal settlement and fund working capital, but to also position the company for further strategic investments.  This announcement appears to be a first step in this opportunistic strategic acquisition strategy. The company has also been on a market roll of late, growing 20% in 2008, and cited by multiple analyst firms as a leader in its market space.

Contract and Services Management features a stellar list of customers which include names such as Amex, BP, FedEx and Motorola.  But it has only managed to garner twenty customers.  In addition to contract labor, the application also supports the complete procurement contracting process for consulting, contractors and other services.

At face value, this acquisition looks to be a potential winner for Emptoris, who can now add services procurement as a very timely need to their applications technology portfolio. With the global economy showing more extended time to full recovery, companies will more and more turn to contingent labor to fill-in for specific business or program needs.  Emptoris obviously plans to seize on this opportunity.

The acquisition does however brings some open questions. Why would Click Commerce sell such a timely technology after only two years?  How quickly can Emptoris integrate this application into their existing on-demand technology stack? All are questions that warrant further discussions.

Bob Ferrari