Monday, May 31, 2004

Intentia, MAPICS, SSA, and Geac--what's the deal?

There's some interesting speculation going on about Intentia, MAPICS, and SSA and I'm trying to piece it all together.

To start, Nigel Montgomery at AMR thinks that Intentia's new CEO, Bertrand Sciard, may be on the hunt to acquire another ERP vendor.
Assuming Intentia can return to profitability, Mr. Sciard's plan is likely to include the swift acquisition of another ERP vendor with a strong presence in the United States. He's already considering candidates and clearly understands the art of an acquisition, based on his tenure at Geac. Intentia needs this as a springboard to grow in the region, and although he’s not mentioning names, an obvious target might be MAPICS. An interesting twist would be that General Atlantic (GA), a strong investor in Intentia’s rival SSA Global, also owns a slice of MAPICS. This raises the question of whether Symphony, which owns around 30% of Intentia, might seek to enlist GA, or its co-SSA Global investor Cerberus, as additional investors in the company in order to acquire. Either way, it’s likely that more funds will be forthcoming once growth resumes.
Montgomery's mention of SSA and MAPICS in a research note about Intentia is interesting, but I think he misses the obvious implication. It is more likely that General Atlantic Partners would want to put SSA and MAPICS together, rather than help Intentia acquire MAPICS, which would just create a stronger competitor for SSA. A month or two ago, I heard a rumor that SSA has some office space at the MAPICS headquarters in Atlanta. I have no independent confirmation of this, but if true it might indicate that a deal for SSA to acquire MAPICS is in the works.

It's possible that General Atlantic Partners would want SSA to also acquire Intentia, but that runs in the opposite direction that AMR thinks Intentia is headed.

So, if Intentia does not have a shot at MAPICS, who might be Intentia's likely acquisition target in North America? I would suggest Geac. Geac, based in Canada, is best known for its SmartStream financials system, which it picked up in 1996 from Dun & Bradstreet, and its System21 ERP suite, which it picked up in its acquisition of JBA in 1999.

I think Geac might be an attractive target for Intentia for four reasons. First, Geac has a substantial installed base in North America, which Intentia needs. Second, Geac has a good part of its installed base running the IBM iSeries (formerly AS400), which matches Intentia's installed base. Third, Geac's System21 installed base is largely in the food and beverage and apparel industries, which matches two key verticals that Intentia targets. And, finally, as Montgomery mentions in passing, Geac just happens to be the former employer of Intentia's new CEO, Bertrand Sciard, so he knows it well.

All just speculation on my part. But if readers have any other insight, please let me know.

Related posts
Intentia reaches for revival
Who's next on SSA's shopping list?
Latest word on the street concerning MAPICS


Anonymous said...

isn't it about time we had an update on Intentia/ Lawson following the closure of their merger?

Frank Scavo said...

Thanks for the message. I'm hoping to get to it shortly.

The Spectator may not always be the most timely source, but at least the price is right!