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4/26/2011
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Lawson Accepts Infor's $2 Billion Bid

ERP provider will become number three vendor and Infor CEO Charles Phillips pledges aggressive investment and support.

A group led by enterprise resource planning vendor Infor announced on Tuesday that rival Lawson Software has agreed to be acquired for $2 billion.

If the deal is completed in the third quarter as planned, Infor will become the clear, though distant, number-three ERP software supplier after SAP and Oracle. After adding Lawson, Infor's revenues should exceed $2.5 billion, compared with $17.6 billion in revenue for SAP in 2010. Oracle does not break out its applications revenue.

Charles Phillips, Infor's CEO since October and the former president of Oracle, promised rapid product integration and development to take advantage of the best software from both companies.

Lawson's products will "receive additional investment and enhancement, and we plan to deliver incremental value quickly," Phillips stated in an open letter to Lawson customers. "Infor is already on a path to accelerated innovation and recently announced a significant investment of 400 additional engineers in research and development."

Infor made its future product direction quite clear, focusing on Lawson's enterprise financial and human resources applications as cornerstones of a combined product suite along with Infor's manufacturing, supply chain, product lifecycle, workforce, and asset management applications.

Infor's unsolicited bid for Lawson wasn't made public until March, but Lawson executives acknowledged today that talks began in early January. The two companies have since worked together to assess cross-industry strengths and to hash out plans for a combined offering, according to Duncan Angove, Infor's president of products, marketing and support, one of several senior Infor executives brought in by Phillips when he joined the company last October.

"At the time of closing or very close to it, we intend to ship high-value integrations and innovations immediately," Angove said.

Infor's asset-management and time-and-attendance applications, for example, are to be integrated with Lawson's healthcare applications. Angove said Infor also plans to create a two-tier financial offering by integrating Lawson's financial apps for headquarters operations with Infor's SunSystems financial app as a low-cost, rapid-install alternative for business units and subsidiaries. Initial integrations will be basic, Angove said, focusing on Lawson's back-end integration layer and Infor's user interface layer.

Angove talked about challenging SAP and Oracle by offering "a genuine third choice," but the company is likely to continue to focus on midsize companies and market niches rather than the large-enterprise and mainstream demands dominated by SAP and Oracle.

Lawson has strengths in healthcare, state and local government, wholesale distribution, fashion and retail, food and beverage, equipment rental and services. Infor focuses heavily on midsize manufacturers and consumer package goods, and it will combine strengths where it formerly competed with Lawson in healthcare, state and local government, and retail.

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