SunGard Data Systems Inc. said its deal to acquire Infinity Financial Technology Inc. was driven by increasing demand from banks for risk management and derivatives software.

The deal, for $318 million in stock, was announced last week and requires regulatory and shareholder approval. It is expected to close in early 1998.

The combined entity, which could have as much as $1 billion in sales next year, would sell "best-of-breed" software applications to banks interested in beefing up their risk management operations.

Infinity, which reported $41 million in revenue last year, sells financial trading and enterprisewide risk management software to large banks. The Mountain View, Calif.-based vendor lists customers such as ABN Amro Holdings NV of Amsterdam and Commerzbank AG of Frankfurt.

SunGard, based in Wayne, Pa., provides banks with various computer-based services and specializes in disaster recovery software. It also sells risk management software to medium-size financial institutions.

"Demand for this kind of product continues to be very robust as trading volume in derivatives worldwide increases," said Andrew Bronstein, vice president and comptroller at SunGard.

The deal came together "rather quickly," he added, as both sides contemplated the potential benefits of a merger.

Mr. Bronstein said the two firms could "sell into each other's markets and customer base."

Octavio Marenzi, analyst at Meridien Research, Needham, Mass., said he believes the pair would be a decent match.

SunGard's technology runs on Windows NT, while Infinity's software is designed for Unix-based systems.

Mr. Marenzi also said SunGard gives a lot of autonomy to the companies it buys.

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