UPDATE: WhichPLM have today (26th July) spoken to representatives from Infor, and we expect to be able to publish a full interview in the coming days. In the meantime, though, Infor would like to assure existing customers of both solutions that they have absolutely no plans to retire either piece of software. They believe that users of both Runtime and Fashion PLM have exciting times to look forward to.
Effective from the fifth of this month, GGC Software Holdings Inc. (an affiliate of Golden Gate Capital) and Infor, suppliers of the Runtime PLM solution to our industry, have acquired Lawson Software Inc. – suppliers of the Fashion PLM solution. This is a deal that has been mooted for some time,
The press release (which was issued on 6 July) is presented below, but rather than just pass along information regarding such momentous industry news, I would like to offer my own insight into the merger and briefly consider its likely impact on the customers of both Runtime and Fashion PLM.
The acquiring companies now find themselves with two distinct PLM solutions that cater to the retail, footwear and apparel industry. Each solution has an existing installed base, unique selling points and a storied history of updates and revisions. There will be many customers of each who, following this month’s announcement, will be facing considerable uncertainty about future development arrangements.
GGC and Infor are unlikely to want to maintain two separate solutions for long. It is far from economically viable to continue to develop two pieces of software with a considerable cross-over in terms of their capabilities, even without considering the potential cost of two-pronged international support. At WhichPLM we have heard countless times that, where acquisitions are concerned, the new controlling party will make every effort to maintain development of both solutions, but invariably one solution eventually becomes a replacement for another.
It seems probable in this case, then, that one (or both) solution(s) will eventually be phased out. In that eventuality, the customers of the less-fortunate solution will find themselves in a difficult transition period. In all likelihood they will be migrated to the “stronger” of the two solutions once the acquiring companies have been able to determine which best suits the needs of the majority of their customer base.
A further alternative is that neither solution is maintained in the future, and the acquiring companies instead choose to develop their own solution (potentially using aspects of Runtime and Fashion PLM as a base) or, perhaps, buy another. The original press release hints that in-development solutions from both sides of the equation will be actively pursued and released under the new ownership arrangement, but no mention is made of PLM.
I hope to be able to interview a representative of both companies here on WhichPLM in the coming days, but for the time being customers of Lawson and Infor may have cause to feel slightly uneasy.
The original press release follows:
(ATLANTA, GEORGIA, 6 JULY 2011)GGC Software Holdings, Inc., an affiliate of Golden Gate Capital, and Infor, a leading provider of business software serving more than 70,000 customers, today announced the completion of its acquisition of Lawson Software, Inc., under the terms of the merger agreement disclosed on April 26, 2011, effective as of July 5, 2011. Pursuant to the terms of such merger agreement, Lawson’s stockholders (other than stockholders who have perfected their statutory rights of appraisal under Delaware law) will receive $11.25 per share in cash, without interest and less any applicable withholding taxes, for each share of common stock they owned immediately prior to the effective time of the merger.
Lawson is a global provider of business application software, maintenance and consulting to customers primarily in specific services, trade and manufacturing/distribution industries. Lawson has been combined with SoftBrands, Inc., an affiliate of Golden Gate Capital and Infor, with the new affiliation enabling Lawson/SoftBrands and Infor to share and integrate technology and partner on product offerings through cross-selling, marketing and distribution arrangements.
Pledging to deliver incremental value quickly to customers, the Infor and Lawson product development teams have begun integrating applications using Infor ION, an innovative interoperability architecture.
Under this development effort, first products targeted for release later this year are Lawson S3 and Infor FMS SunSystems Enterprise; Lawson S3 and Infor EAM; and Lawson Human Capital Management and Infor Workforce Management.
“These first product examples reflect the potential of this partnership and the fast pace of our development efforts,” said Charles Phillips, CEO of Infor. “We will continue our work to deliver deeper functionality and industry-specific applications, particularly in key industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, distribution, public sector and hospitality.”
In addition to Infor and Lawson’s complementary product portfolio, the companies also share a large base of common customers who present cross-sell opportunities. Nine percent of Lawson’s active customers also use Infor products, and 48 percent of Lawson’s top revenue customers use at least one Infor application.
The combination of Lawson S3 and Infor FMS SunSystems Enterprise will enable organizations to adopt a two-tier financial management strategy. In this strategy, Lawson S3 can be deployed at headquarters and larger divisions, while Infor FMS SunSystems Enterprise is used at smaller operations distributed globally. One key benefit of a flexible global financial management system is that it can support multiple countries, languages and currencies but also allow each distributed operation to upgrade separately.
The combination of Lawson S3 and Infor Enterprise Asset Management can help customers reduce operating and maintenance costs. The City of Greensboro, N.C., is one public sector customer that Infor and Lawson have in common.
“Infor EAM has helped us realize cost savings by substituting corrective maintenance with scheduled preventive maintenance activities,” said Stephen Sherman, GIS manager, City of Greensboro, N.C. “Integration with our Lawson S3 Financial Management System will further consolidate information and enable us to produce enhanced reports more quickly for senior management and state regulatory agencies.”
Lastly, the combination of Infor Workforce Management with Lawson Human Capital Management can provide one system to manage all employee-related functions, including core HR, talent management, eLearning, time and attendance, and payroll. The integrated applications can improve operational decision making capabilities and enable time-and-attendance data to feed directly into payroll.
Notice Regarding Listing of Lawson Shares
As a result of the closing of the merger, shares of Lawson’s common stock were delisted from NASDAQ as of the close of business on July 5, 2011, and will not open for trading on the First North exchange on July 6, 2011. Lawson’s stockholders who hold shares registered through Euroclear Sweden as of July 8, 2011, will be paid the equivalent of U.S.$11.25 per share cash merger consideration on or about July 13, 2011.
Infor is a leading provider of business software and services, helping more than 70,000 customers in 164 countries improve operations and drive growth. To learn more about Infor, please visit www.infor.com.
About Golden Gate Capital
Golden Gate Capital is a San Francisco-based private equity investment firm with approximately $9 billion of capital under management. Golden Gate is dedicated to partnering with world-class management teams to invest in change-intensive, growth businesses. For more information, visit www.goldengatecap.com.