The powerful consolidation currents sweeping the treasury technology market have claimed another victim and once again reduced technology choices–at least in terms of companies–available to treasurers. In late January, treasury workstation giant SunGard AvantGard announced that SunGard is acquiring major chunks of XRT Inc., once a formidable rival, but of late unable to keep pace with the increasingly competitive treasury tech market. While SunGard technically bought the U.S., German and Belgian subsidiaries of XRT, it actually acquired the French-owned company's high-end product lines–the TWS and Globe$ brands–leaving XRT with a line for smaller clients. In addition, SunGard took over the customer roster using the products and global rights to market them. SunGard bought three valuable assets, according to Ken Dummitt, president of the SunGard AvantGard business unit: a prestigious portfolio of customers, talented staff people and good products that "complement our offerings." He suggests that SunGard is likely to absorb the XRT products into the AvantGard line, providing XRT customers the best opportunities for upgrades and high-level service.

The marketplace quickly grasped the potential of such a union. "The chances have just increased that any large corporation considering a treasury workstation will have to consider a SunGard option," notes treasury consultant Dan Carmody, managing director of TreaSolution Inc. in Chicago. "After the XRT acquisition, SunGard will have six full-scale, unique treasury workstations to offer in the marketplace," he points out, an offering nobody else can come close to matching.

The loss of XRT comes as little surprise. Many of the foreign-owned treasury software companies have found themselves prey to powerful U.S. competitors after venturing into the imposing U.S. market–Wall Street Systems' (WSS) purchase of French-owned Trema, Thomson's buy of the Canadian-owned Selkirk and SunGard's acquisition of British-owned Integrity being the most notable. And for the acquirers, the rewards are readily apparent. In this case, XRT still has many of the blue-chip clients that SunGard covets, observes treasury technology veteran Glen Solimine, CEO of financial technology provider Speranza Systems Inc. in Scarborough, Maine, and a former employee of both SunGard and XRT. "Culturally, it should be a good fit, and it will be great for XRT clients to have a vendor with a clear path forward," Solimine says. "SunGard has a great client-support structure that XRT users will appreciate."

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