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SSA targets seven new buys. (In Other News...).

Mid-market application vendor SSA Global Technologies Inc is currently in talks to acquire seven more companies as it aims to follow up its purchase of Baan Company NV with a flurry of takeover activity to take its revenue to over $1bn and its customer base to more than 20,000 within a year.

In an ERP sector consumed by the takeover machinations of Oracle, PeopleSoft and JD Edwards, SSA said that last week's $135m acquisition of Baan will take its revenue run-rate to over $600m and make it the largest vendor in the manufacturing space.

In an interview with ComputerWire, SSA's CEO Mike Greenough confirmed that he is casting an eye over companies such as i2 and Manugistics. "We could buy i2 for cash and take it private," he said.

SSA's strength in a depressed market is a vast supply of funds from the venture capital companies backing its ambitions, combined with the fact that, as a private company, Greenough does not have to be constantly looking over his shoulder to see if his moves are meeting the approval of skeptical analysts.

Greenough has huge confidence in SSA's abilities to turn round failing companies. This will be fully tested when he gains control of Baan, an outfit that he conceded has been "adrift." He has also had to grapple with the "cultural issue" of having to negotiate with Baan's workers' council. This requirement has undoubtedly led to the extraordinary announcement that Baan would retain its own sales organization, when the whole logic of the takeover would be for full integration into SSA.

To many in the industry, the fact that SSA applications tend to run on AS/400-iSeries platforms while Baan's are on Windows and Unix would present a technical challenge. Greenough brushed aside such concerns, and insisted that "technology is a commodity" and there are hundreds of middleware products that can make such integration possible.

Where he hopes to score over his larger rivals is in lower costs and ease of implementation. Moreover, customers increasingly prefer one supplier, rather than buying best-of-breed products from a clutch of vendors.

Greenough's brash approach will be dismissed by many in the industry, but the flurry of takeover activity in the past week is all about buying customers, and SSA is building its base as fast as any in the industry.
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Publication:MarketWatch: CRM
Date:Jun 24, 2003
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