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SAP To Acquire Manufacturing Software Vendor Visiprise

The purchase will expand SAP's "Perfect Plant" portfolio of end-to-end manufacturing software.

As part of its strategy of expanding vertical industry offerings, SAP on Tuesday announced the acquisition of Visiprise, a provider of plant-level software products for discrete manufacturers.

Terms were not disclosed. However, SAP officials say they expect the deal to close by end of July and plan to retain most of the privately owned Alpharetta, Ga.-based Visiprise's 300 employees worldwide.

SAP's relationship with Visiprise goes back a couple of years, with Visiprise offering SAP-endorsed software, said John Zepecki, a senior VP and general manager at SAP. The acquisition will expand SAP's "Perfect Plant" portfolio of end-to-end manufacturing software, he said.

Visiprise's tools can help plant managers, especially at discrete manufacturers, adapt to changes, such as reconfiguring operations plans because of factors like malfunctioning plant equipment or the absence of key personnel on a given day, Zepecki said.

Visiprise's software helps managers "capture [information about] activities on the shop floor to make better decisions and implement them in plant operations," said Zepecki.

The Visiprise purchase is the latest of several vertical software vendor acquisitions SAP has made in recent years in the manufacturing industry, as well as in other sectors, like retail.

"We're looking for ways to better serve our customers," Zepecki said. The deal with Visiprise is "consistent with our corporate strategy of extending our footprint," he said.

SAP's other manufacturing-sector acquisitions include another plant-floor application provider, Lighthammer Software Development, in 2005 and lean-manufacturing software vendor Factory Logic in 2006.

Simon Jacobson, an analyst at AMR Research, said the acquisition "makes perfect sense," because of the tight relationship already in place between SAP and Visiprise, with SAP salespeople reselling Visiprise software. "The value for SAP is that this is now integrated into its offering, no longer a third-party application," he said. The combination of SAP and Visiprise products "wraps logic around manufacturing processes," he said.

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