Software Provider E2open Buys Shipping Platform INTTRA

Deal moves E2open into the ocean transportation space

The Wall Street Journal Oct. 22, 2018 6:00 a.m. ET

Software company E2open LLC is acquiring container shipping booking platform INTTRA Inc., extending consolidation of the supply-chain management technology arena into the nuts-and-bolts of ocean transportation.

The acquisition announced Monday is E2open’s latest in a series of deals in the past two years and the first outside its business of making cloud-based software aimed at managing the operations and inventory behind corporate enterprises.

E2open said it would integrate the shipment-booking platform connecting container shipping lines and ocean freight forwarders into its software, giving the company a hand in executing transportation transactions. Parsippany, N.J.-based INTTRA has more than 60 carriers and all of the world’s top 30 freight forwarders on its platform and says it handles about a quarter of total container movements world-wide.

“We aim to bridge the gap between manufacturing and logistics with execution capabilities on a unified platform with real-time end-to-end visibility,” E2open Chief Executive Michael Farlekas said in a statement.

INTTRA was formed in 2001 by a consortium of shipping lines in an effort to bring more technology to the rudimentary and manual business of booking freight container transport. The business was spun off as a private company in 2010, with the original carriers holding 49% and private-equity firm ABS Capital Partners holding the remaining controlling stake.

E2open is buying 100% of the company, according to INTTRA. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

John Fay, chief executive of INTTRA, said the combined company will have approximately $260 million in annual revenue, with $60 million of it contributed by INTTRA.

The acquisition comes as shipping companies are scrambling to upgrade their own technology systems and many compete in providing broader freight transportation services beyond their port-to-port business. Shipping customers increasingly are pressing for more information about the movement of shipments inland, leaving the rudimentary booking of ocean transportation more isolated in supply chains.

Shipping lines, meanwhile, have been struggling to bring their technology systems into a more digital world.

Mr. Fay said at an April tech summit the company hosted in Hamburg that the shipping industry had passed a “digitalization tipping point” and that 2018 would “the year of moving from innovation to action.”

E2open, owned by Insight Venture Partners, has been on an acquisition spree over the past three years as it moves closer to broader technology known as enterprise resource planning software, which would put into more direct competition with giants like SAP SE . It merged with Steelwedge Software Inc. in early 2017, and its purchases include transportation management specialist Cloud Logistics and inventory management business Terra Technology.

The company faltered in what appears to be its biggest acquisition bid in February 2017 when global trade management software company Amber Road Inc. rejected a hostile buyout bid at $10.50 a share, or more than $300 million.

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