Monday, May 15, 2006

Rolling up the rollup: SSA Global to be acquired by Infor

SSA Global, one of the primary consolidators of enterprise system vendors is now itself being acquired by Infor, another consolidator. There's a short press release on Infor's website just now, announcing the deal, which gives $19.50 a share to SSA shareholders, the majority of which are two investment firms, Cerberus Capital Management and General Atlantic Partners.

Why the deal? My guess is that SSA's investors see it as the best opportunity to get out. SSA's stock price has been on a steady decline since the beginning of the year and was trading around $16.00 the past week or so. Infor's offer of $19.50 represents a 20% premium over its current price. Sold.

Of course, this is from the investor's viewpoint. What about the customer's perspective? At first glance, I can't imagine that customers will be excited about this deal. I won't try to list all of the acquisitions that SSA Global and Infor each have made over the past several years. Use the search field in the right column to search for "SSA" or "Infor" and you'll find everything I've written about each firm's products over the past four years. Some, such as SSA's Baan (now ERP LN), were big names in the past. Some, such as SSA's Epiphany, have good up-to-date technology. Some, such as Infor's Lilly Visual applications and the former SCP Adage (Agilisys) system have deep industry functionality. But the list of products is very, very long, and it's hard to imagine how the combined entity can give adequate attention to such a diverse portfolio of products.

If you are a current customer of SSA or Infor, please let me know your experience with either vendor and your view of this deal.

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