12 May 2003 Baan will be sold by its troubled UK parent company Invensys in the next few days for £68 million. But sources have not disclosed which of two bidders will end up owning the once high-flying enterprise resource planning (ERP) software vendor.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that the two remaining bidders are SSA Global Technologies, the privately held US supplier of ERP software, and Texas Pacific Group, a US venture capital firm. A return by Jan Baan, one of the Dutch brothers who founded the company, now seems very unlikely.
SSA GT, tipped as the leading bidder early on, has the strategic nous and the funds to buy and develop Baan. SSA GT’s current management, led by Mike Greenough, backed by private equity company Gores Technology, brought SSA out of bankruptcy in 2000, returned it to profitability and have already made two acquisitions — Infinium and Computer Associate’s Interbiz unit.
The Texas Pacific Group would most likely adopt a similar strategy to Gores — backing strong, experienced management and focusing on core skills and customers.
Although Invensys has suffered serious financial problems in recent years, owing to its over-ambitious expansion plans, Baan’s current management are well regarded and believed to have done a creditable job in otherwise difficult circumstances.
After a collapse in sales and serious technical problems around the time of the Invensys acquisition, the company has stabilised and recently announced a string of new customer wins across the world.
Invensys originally paid $708 million for Nasdaq-listed Baan in 2000.