Software seeks acquisitions, improved ties with SAP

By Tova Cohen

TEL AVIV (Reuters) – German business software company Software AG (SOWG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research) will pursue more acquisitions and is seek to expand its cooperation with market leader SAP AG (SAPG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research), its chief executive said on Tuesday.

“We are very active in pursuing potential acquisitions and we always have a number of acquisitions on our radar screens,” Karl-Heinz Streibich told Reuters during a visit to Israel, where media has speculated it is seeking to buy a company.

“It is possible that we will make an acquisition this year.”

Streibich said Software AG makes a small-to-medium size deal almost every year.

“Whether the big one will happen this year or not, this is not predictable,” he said, adding that the company planned to make a large acquisition every two-to-four years.

A large deal would be similar to that of IDS Scheer, an IT consultancy Software AG acquired about two years ago for 480 million euros, he said.

IDS Scheer is a partner of Germany’s SAP.

“They have a very long-standing relationship with SAP and therefore we work together with SAP and look where there are areas where we can expand our activities,” he said.

“We are looking to make more deals together…we have a number of customer deals together and we are looking to improve our mutual business by combining our activities wherever it makes sense from a customer’s point of view.”

Software AG — which provides software for companies to integrate new and legacy IT systems, and also for transactional databases — bought seven companies for a total of more than $1.2 billion in the past few years.

It has acquired three companies in Israel, where it employs 360 people.

Streibich said Software AG “has some Israeli companies on the radar screen,” but added the main reason for his visit was to see customers.

“When there is something which would make sense for us we would be happy to buy an Israeli company again,” he said. He declined to comment on specific companies.

Israeli financial newspaper Globes reported last week that Software AG, as well as Nokia, had expressed interest in acquiring GigaSpaces Technologies, an infrastructure software firm. Globes estimated the sale price at $50-$100 million.

Software AG head of mergers and acquisitions Fredric Hanika was recently in Israel and told Reuters the company was interested in technologies that mobilize the business process and enable companies to build cloud computing. GigaSpaces developed a platform to facilitate migration to cloud computing.

Though there has been repeated market speculation of a possible takeover of Software AG by SAP, Streibich said the company was secure from a hostile takeover since 30 percent of its shares belong to a foundation created by its founder.

“We are a company which is buying companies ourselves. We are consolidating the market,” he said.

Its plan is to double revenue every five to seven years, with 50 percent of growth coming from acquisitions and the rest from organic growth.

(Editing by Jane Merriman)

Software seeks acquisitions, improved ties with SAP