FreeBorders, a provider of global supply chain technology for the apparel, textile and retail industry, has announced the acquisition of Applied Intranet Technologies (Ai), the industry's second largest provider of collaborative product design and development applications.

The deal will provide customers with an integrated "design-to-delivery" solution that significantly increases organisational efficiency and profitability. This announcement comes on the heels of FreeBorders $25m second round of funding. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

The acquisition combines FreeBorders' advanced trading tools with Ai's product design software, creating specialised applications that enable customers to improve decision making capabilities, reduce product development lead times, increase overall efficiency and maximise return on investment. The acquisition also creates a standard web-based technology platform for members of the industry to facilitate trading, development and communication at all points in the supply chain.

"Ai is a proven technology that is being used by more than 350 brands and retailers today," said Ramsey Walker, chief executive officer for FreeBorders in the United States. "The integration of our technologies significantly improves the value we deliver to buyers and suppliers in the apparel, textile and retail supply chain."

The acquisition will accelerate FreeBorders' reach, leveraging Ai's 350-plus customers in over 30 countries, including Liz Claiborne, Dillard's, Nike, QVC, Land's End, Russell, LL Bean and Levi Strauss & Company.

"FreeBorders' acquisition of Ai integrates advanced supply chain technology and global relationships with comprehensive software solutions and an excellent service reputation," says Walter Wilhelm, president, Ai.

Working closely with IBM and major global trading partners, FreeBorders' Private Network will be available in December 2000, licensed as a complete "design-to-delivery" solution. FreeBorders' technology will enable buyers and suppliers to take their current supply chain online, reducing costs, shortening lead times and maximising profitability. The technology will feature a variety of applications including: collaborative design and development, pricing and capacity discovery, and order management tools.

About FreeBorders
FreeBorders, together with IBM, is a developer of global supply chain technology focused on optimising profitability for the apparel, textile and retail industry. Leveraging global expertise, FreeBorders' strategic investors and technology partners include IBM, Internet Capital Group (Nasdaq:ICGE - news), ICG Asia, Fountain Set, Crystal Group, Luen Thai, TAL Apparel Ltd., Orient Holding International, Olympus Capital, Grupo Mina, McKinsey and Co., EMVA, and Saints Ventures LLC. For more information, visit www.freeborders.com.