Is SAP for sale?
May 19, 2006
It's exceedingly rare for senior executives to speculate publicly about the sale of their company, so when one does it - as Hasso Plattner, chairman and major shareowner of the corporate software giant SAP did yesterday - you have to wonder what kind of signal he's trying to send. In an interview with the German edition of the Financial Times, Plattner implied that SAP "is open to an acquisition by US technology groups," according to a report on the interview in the FT today. Here's what Plattner said:
“There are only three potential buyers: IBM, Microsoft and Google. I don’t see anyone else. If shareholders think that a combination, and not independence, is better, then it will happen ... You have to be emotionless."
Regarding a merger with IBM specifically, Plattner said:
“I do not want to invent rumours because there are no talks. However, I do not want to say that I dislike IBM so much that I could not imagine such a scenario at all.”
SAP's PR apparatus is in high gear this morning, trying to squelch speculation about a sale. Still, when a guy who owns about 11% of a big company's stock, as Plattner reportedly does, opens the door to a takeover in an interview with a major newspaper, you have to assume he knows what he's doing.
Sounds like he's saying it just to make a point about corporate governance, and reading between the lines, just to make a point about what market cap league he sees SAP playing in.
Posted by: Mohit Mahendra at May 19, 2006 12:41 PM
With the Microsoft announcement earlier this month about Duet, the joing product offering from Microsoft and SAP one wonders if Microsoft is the logical suiter???
Posted by: russ stalters at May 19, 2006 01:35 PM
Wow, that's interesting news. Did Oracle shake them up with all of those recent acquisitions ?
Posted by: Bobby Razor at May 19, 2006 03:49 PM
Hello...who has cash to pay a 25 to 30% premium on today's SAP market cap of $ 65 billion?
I was at Sapphire this week...I did not sense any of the executives are looking for an exit...but if someone has % 80 billion almost 10X revenues burning a hole in their pockets...sure!
Posted by: vinnie mirchandani at May 19, 2006 05:02 PM
... agreed, Vinnie, my sense from Sapphire as well. Also, based on their extremely strong marketplace position and an a serious intent and good liklihood of execution, I can't see this being good for SAP investors. Also, note the beaucoup euro that SAP is putting up for execs if they can take the stock price up in the next few years.
Posted by: ramana rao at May 20, 2006 08:30 PM
For IBM to buy SAP would be disastrous - haven't IBM customers suffered enough?
For Microsoft to buy SAP would be even worse - haven't SAP customers suffered enough?
But for Google to buy SAP would just be silly, and - if we accept your reading of the Google entrails - would at best bring the company to a grinding halt and at worst tear it apart.
I don't think Google management is reckless enough - or IBM management is anxious enough - to take those risks with their own companies. Microsoft it is, then.
Posted by: Phil at May 22, 2006 05:57 AM
It's ludicrous to think that anyone is going to buy SAP. In the best case scenario they would merge with another company. All Plattner is doing talking the SAP stock into a higher price range and showing that he has learned a lesson from Craig Conway (ex-CEO of PeopleSoft): never say never.
Posted by: Charles Homs at May 22, 2006 07:46 AM
If I had 12% of SAP's shares, I'd also talk up the share price by saying that I'm available.
He made €66M in one day.
Posted by: Cam at May 22, 2006 08:04 AM
Post a comment
"Riveting" -San Francisco Chronicle
"Rewarding" -Financial Times
"Ominously prescient" -Kirkus Reviews
"Riveting stuff" -New York Post