PricewaterhouseCoopers Bets on B2B

Professional services giant PricewaterhouseCoopers is teaming with Informatica (NASDAQ: INFA) to jointly develop, sell, and support analytic solutions for the business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce market. As part of the deal, PricewaterhouseCoopers will receive a $30 million (US$) equity stake in Informatica.

The companies say the alliance will help e-businesses in a wide range of industries to thoroughly evaluate their performances across key operational areas and ultimately make better informed strategic decisions.

Inside the Deal

PricewaterhouseCoopers will receive the equity stake in exchange for transferring supply chain and procurement analytic application software, personnel and other assets to the Palo Alto, California-based Informatica.

PricewaterhouseCoopers and Informatica will train 300 consultants on Informatica applications. Additionally, a team of dedicated consultants will facilitate knowledge transfer and add new analytic application content in the areas of electronic customer relationship management and B2B electronic procurement.

Global Reach

Informatica generated $62 million in revenues last year, offering its e-business services to the likes of Mitsubishi, Cisco Systems,, and many more. Informatica signed 110 new customers in the fourth quarter.

Informatica also recently partnered with B2B leader Ariba to deliver e-commerce analysis. Ariba went public in April, raising $48 million to fund an international push.

Since then, Informatica has opened sales offices in the UK, Germany and Latin America. It also partnered with Mitsubishi in a distribution alliance. Nearly 20 percent of the company’s revenues were generated outside the United States.

B2B Revenue Stream

Like its chief competitors Arthur Andersen, KPMG and Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers views the B2B market as a major revenue stream for years to come.

The market is expected to reach $1.7 trillion in size by 2003, according to Forrester Research, as companies large and small shift to Web-based procurement of goods and services.

High Stakes Game

PricewaterhouseCooper’s partnership with Informatica is just the latest of several recent forays into e-business for the firm. Earlier this month the company announced it would commit “significant resources” to a joint venture with Commerce One, Inc.

Financial terms of the partnership were not announced, but PricewaterhouseCoopers said it would create a dedicated CommerceOne practice that will develop and enhance functionality in the areas of invoicing, payment, tax and auction for the Commerce One MarketSite Portal Solution.

Last year, PricewaterhouseCoopers launched its own B2B purchasing consortium called e.conomy, which offers member businesses discounts on indirect goods and services including office supplies, temporary staffing services and company travel.

With over $17 billion in revenues last year, PricewaterhouseCoopers can afford to shake the B2B tree to see what falls out. The company has offices around the globe staffed by 155,000 employees, 9,000 of whom are partners in the firm.

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