Users watch as Baan sale draws closer

Baan users will be keeping a sharp eye on the outcome of the sale of the ERP supplier by parent company Invensys in the coming...

Baan users will be keeping a sharp eye on the outcome of the sale of the ERP supplier by parent company Invensys in the coming days.

The company, which is being sold for about £70m, was subject to offers from a number of bidders at the time of going to press. These were reported to include ERP supplier SSA GT; Vanenburg, a firm headed by former Baan chairman Jan Baan; and venture capital group Texas Pacific.

Baan has a significant presence in the UK manufacturing sector, with customers including BAE Systems, Del Monte and Ellis & Everard. The sale of Baan should go some way to easing users' uncertainty over whether their core software systems will be developed further.

Nigel Montgomery, an analyst with AMR Research, said, "Invensys never got to grips with Baan - it was always a difficult company to manage - and for the past year it has suffered more harm than good. As long as a buyer intends to move the product forward, rather than simply stripping assets, the sale will be a good thing.

"What users should particularly watch out for is whether their reseller intends to stick with Baan. A lot of resellers gained up to 70% of their revenue from Baan implementations but diversified when the company hit problems."

After a collapse in sales around the time of the Invensys acquisition in 2000, Baan's management team stabilised the company and it has won a number of new customers in recent months.

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