TechnologyAccounting SoftwareBaan sold at massive loss

Baan sold at massive loss

Loss-making enterprise resource planning software vendor Baan is to be sold to a group of private investment firms in a $135m (£83m) deal - less than a fifth of its sale price three years ago.

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General Atlantic Partners and Cerebus Capital Management intend to combine Baan with enterprise application maker SSA Global Technologies, which is also owned by the group, following the acquisition.

But both Baan and SSA GT will continue to trade under their existing names, and operate with separate sales forces.

In the immediate future Baan will be looking for some stability. Baan president Laurens van der Tang admitted that recent speculation had created an air of ‘uncertainty’, but hoped that the announcement would reassure customers and channel partners.

‘GAP is committed to future investment in Baan, and the next generation release, codenamed Gemini, will move forward for an autumn release,’ he said.

Van der Tang’s own future is less certain. He said that he would be making a decision whether to stay on ‘over the next couple of weeks’.

Whether the GAP group will have more success with Baan than Invensys remains to be seen. Three years ago engineering firm Invensys paid £470m for Baan, but mounting debt has forced it to offload the software business.

Baan had an enviable blue chip client list, but it was still losing money and growing revenues was difficult in current conditions, said Judith Jordan, analyst at Ovum Holway.

‘Vendors are having to concentrate on cost control. But Invensys has already put a lot effort into this. It will be interesting to see what more GAP can do,’ she said.

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