Lawson Software's latest acquisition is all about style

Freeborders buy deepens fashion industry footprint

Lawson Software has announced plants to acquire the Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software division of San Francisco-based Freeborders.

With this acquisition, Lawson will deepen its enterprise software offerings for companies in the fashion industry.

Freeborders will retain its existing technology outsourcing services, which are not included in Lawson's acquisition.

PLM helps fashion manufacturing companies more quickly source the materials they need to move a product from design to production.

By adding PLM capabilities to its portfolio of enterprise software offerings, Lawson can now help companies establish processes that will enable them to cut the lead time from product concept to production to actual delivery to the retail store shelf.

The best-of-breed PLM solution developed by Freeborders is well-tested and proven in the fashion industry with the company serving 79 customers across Asia, the US and Europe.

Lawson Fashion PLM will initially be available as a standalone product as the vendor is yet to determine how the product fits with its core Lawson M3 Enterprise Management System for the fashion industry.

Lawson's A/NZ managing director, Stephen Moore, said the Freeborders solution fills a gap in the overall supply chain.

"We now have a proven PLM solution that our customers can add easily and can work alongside our global fashion solutions," Moore said.

Lawson and Freeborders currently serve several joint customers around the globe, including Hong Kong-based TAL Group.

Harry Lee, CEO of TAL Group, said it is good news for customers.

"It means companies like ours can look to one vendor for our enterprise software and product lifecycle management needs. It also means we will have the power of Lawson focused on the PLM product, given the strategic importance of the fashion industry to Lawson," he said.

Commenting on the announcement, Gartner research director, Peter Bambridge, said solution providers focused on the fashion industry continue to extend their solution footprints to deliver complete end-to-end business processes.

For example, he said combining Product Lifecycle Management capabilities with backbone ERP systems can improve agility and speed of response by enabling tight integration between planning and execution, improving visibility across the entire collaborative supply chain and enabling the smooth flow of information from design through to delivery.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed and the transaction is not anticipated to have a material impact on the company's fiscal 2008 fourth quarter or fiscal 2009 results. Lawson's fiscal year ends May 31, 2008.

Lawson Software provides software and service solutions to 4,000 customers in manufacturing, distribution, maintenance and service sector industries across 40 countries.

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