The proposed acquisition of Great Plains by software giant Microsoft faces the prospect of delays after it was revealed this week there are ‘concerns’ surrounding the deal.
Microsoft acknowledged its intention to move into the provision of business applications, operating systems and desktop software, in December following its £747m bid for Great Plains.
The bid for the US-based, mid-market solutions provider was the second largest formulated by Microsoft and followed six months of talks.
But the deal has attracted controversy after it was revealed an unnamed Silicon Valley start-up has raised objections to the deal through the US Department of Justice.
Great Plains European president, Lorne Borgal, added to the uncertainty.
He said: ‘We are not expecting any major announcements until the end of April. We appear to be on track but we all anticipated there would be concerns.’
Since the anti-trust letter has been posted, the US Justice Department has begun to consider whether to launch an investigation into the deal.
Several years ago Microsoft pulled out of a deal with entry level vendor Intuit after bowing to pressure from rival vendors.
There are also concerns the deal will affect its relationship with Newcastle-based Sage as it would become a competitor of the UK-based company.
But Paul Tollet, Microsoft’s small-business director, told Accountancy Age: ‘The deal has not slipped, however there are legal investigations going on.
‘We are expected to get the go-ahead to complete the deal as Great Plains does not have a dominant market share in the UK. Any government could query the deal but we are confident that will not be the case in the UK.’
Tollet also reaffirmed Microsoft’s position that once the deal was completed Great Plains would remain unchanged for at least 12 to 24 months.
The move into producing business applications marks a departure for Microsoft, which has previously focused on PC desktop applications.
Until recently, Microsoft’s plan for the business market focused on supplying business customers with a platform and letting them choose the ‘best of breed’ solutions from the many applications available. The move could help Microsoft create its own suite of applications to help small and medium-sized companies run their businesses.
Nobody at the Department of Justice was available for comment.
More on the deal at www.microsoft.com.
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