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Infor to combine with SSA Global

Barney Beal
Consolidation in the enterprise software market continued today with the purchase of SSA Global Technologies Inc. by Infor Global Solutions.

Infor, a privately held company headquartered in Alpharetta, Ga., provides software primarily for manufacturing and distribution companies. It will pay $19.50 per share for Chicago-based SSA Global Inc., a total of $1.4 billion.

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"In a rapidly consolidating marketplace, we've all seen that size and scale matter," Mike Greenough, chairman and CEO of SSA Global, said in a briefing with analysts this morning. "This transaction will create the third-largest global provider of enterprise software applications."

SSA Global had been on a buying spree of its own since 2003 and purchased CRM software vendor Epiphany in August 2005. Infor and SSA Global complement one another with their reach into vertical markets and the target size of their customers, executives said.

"Each acquisition we did provided a mosaic, and the mosaic now is a crystal-clear, high-definition picture that we will detail when the regulatory hurdle has been cleared," Greenough said.

The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to conclude in the third quarter of this year.

Executives did not offer details on how the combined companies would be structured but promised more information would be forthcoming and integration would be facilitated by both firms' commitment to a service-oriented architecture (SOA).

"We have absolutely every intention, as we have historically done and Mike [Greenough] has with his business, to support and enhance the products SSA brings to the table," Jim Schaper, Infor's chairman and CEO, said. "SOA is a big part of that strategy by allowing our mutual and joint customers to evolve rather than rip or replace."

The companies' mutual dedication to SOA is a boon to existing and future customers, agreed Martin Schneider, analyst with the New York-based 451 Group.

"[Infor and SSA] both have this commitment to SOA and that's going to help the integration, and also help the ability of the combined companies to support and expand on all the product lines without consolidation or termination [of any of the lines]," Schneider said.

While existing customers will benefit, the acquisition will also enable Infor to reach out to new markets. The company could expand its presence by offering more front-office-type marketing or salesforce automation capabilities, Schneider said. They could also sell more standalone CRM deals, he added.

"There's a value-add to this deal [in] that not only does [Infor] become a larger, meaner stronger player in that core manufacturing ERP area, but it gives it options to really explore and expand," Schneider said. "What's kind of interesting is how CRM could potentially be the driver for the combined companies' foray into other areas like financial services, telco and the public sector."

As more market consolidation occurs, Schneider said he is watching the mid-market for enterprise software with great interest. Between this acquisition and the recent merger of Lawson and Intentia, there are now "viable alternatives" to historical market leaders SAP and Oracle, he said.


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