Infor to buy SSA for US$1.4B

Infor Global Solutions last week agreed to acquire rival SSA Global Technologies for about US$1.4 billion, further consolidating the business applications market.

With combined sales of about US$1.6 billion, the merged firm would become the third-largest applications vendor after SAP and Oracle.

Jim Schaper, chairman and CEO of Alpharetta, Ga.-based Infor, would not offer a detailed, long-term product road map, but he said there are no plans to eliminate products or force users to migrate from older applications.

"I have no end-of-product-life concerns," said Bruce Knoll, director of IT at Meridian Automotive Systems Inc. in Dearborn, Mich.

The car parts maker runs Infor's Mapics ERP software. Knoll said Infor isn't likely to force the installed base to migrate to SSA software. In fact, he said he is curious to see what SSA might bring to Infor's product portfolio.

Knoll said both Infor and SSA service midsize manufacturers that rely on the AS/400 platform, making the deal a "good match."

"This is an opportunity," said Jeff Vogstad, client solutions team manager at Coast Mountain Bus Co. in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The transportation company uses Infor's Datastream asset management applications to help maintain its 1,200 buses and its facilities.

The buyout of SSA will allow Infor to offer a broader set of applications, Vogstad said. The significant addition to Infor's installed base will increase the opportunities for customers to share intellectual property, he added.

Coast Mountain is interested in looking at SSA's warehouse and transportation management applications and hopes Infor will work to integrate them with its own software, Vogstad noted.

Schaper acknowledged that Chicago-based SSA and Infor both offer products targeting manufacturing and distribution users, but he said each serves different market niches.

In addition, both companies have been working to develop a service-oriented architecture for their products, a technology that can offer an inexpensive way to do applications integration, he said.

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