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Troubled Baan goes up for sale again

Mike Simons
Baan, the enterprise resource planning software group, has been put up for sale by its parent company, the engineering group Invensys.

Baan was struggling when it was acquired by Invensys for £470m in 2000. Invensys aimed to get Baan to breakeven point within 12 months, but the company has continued to rack up substantial losses.

User companies, which include the government's defence Aviation Repair Agency, Boeing, BAE, Del Monte, Volvo and Komatsu, will be anxiously viewing developments.

Speaking last month amid rumours of a potential sell off, Jim Symington, group head of management information services at bedmaker Hypnos, which uses Baan systems, said, “If there is any uncertainty surrounding a major supplier, we are always concerned.”

Judith Jordan, analyst at research firm Ovum Holway, said rival ERP vendors were unlikely to bid for the company. "Baan never got the focus it needed within Invensys, and its business model couldn’t withstand the softening in the market as well as some other ERP vendors, such as SAP and Oracle.

"The attractiveness of its customer base must be offset by the investment needed to get Baan back on track. We can't see other software vendors being too eager to snap up the business even it was for a 'bargain price'."


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