Is SAP for sale?

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.

8 thoughts on “Is SAP for sale?

  1. Mohit Mahendra

    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.

  2. vinnie mirchandani

    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!

  3. ramana rao

    … 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.

  4. Phil

    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.

  5. Charles Homs

    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.

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