Thursday, July 28, 2016

Oracle-Netsuite is actually happening

Wow, we didn't really believe it, but the WSJ is reporting this morning that Oracle is actually buying Netsuite for $9.3 billion, which is a premium of 19% over yesterday's closing price.

Business articles in the Journal don't usually get a lot of comments (unlike the political ones!) ... but almost as soon as the story was posted, a commenter wrote:

As a long-time JD Edwards/Oracle customer, I was so happy with our decision to migrate to NetSuite for a couple of reasons, not the least of which was not having to be an Oracle customer anymore. I guess I'll have to get used to being treated like garbage again by my ERP vendor.

Yep.  Or, you could try the leading commercial open source ERP, and never have to worry about that kind of thing again!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Epicor back on the block, heavily laden

The WSJ is reporting that Apax Partners has come down with a case of the 5-year-itch, and is going to try again to find a buyer for Epicor.  Longtime Graveyard readers may recall their last attempt resulted in a bout of inspired Poetry from your humble blogger.

It focused on the shocking financial shell games going on in the firm, a theme which returned the following year when their borrowing practices raised eyebrows even at the ratings agencies who saw nothing wrong with the credit default swaps that led to the 2008 meltdown.

Interestingly, the WSJ piece says in 2014, they turned down offers "deemed too low from bidders including CVC Capital Partners ... Some bids were around $3 billion including debt."

Those last two words are pretty darn important.  How much debt would a buyer have to assume, to take this thing off of Apax's troubled-assets sheet?  The Bloomberg story a year ago said they were looking to borrow an additional $2 billion.  What's that money going toward, you might ask.  New product development?  Building out support teams and taking care of their customers?  Err... well, we do know they've paid themselves over $1 billion in dividends since 2012.

They were still losing money when they stopped reporting financials in 2014. Who knows what the income statement looks like today?  But I think we can all be forgiven for expecting a pretty lopsided balance sheet.

So, who wants to buy that?

UPDATE:  Turns out the answer is KKR.  See the comments.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

IFS taken over by Swedish PE firm

Well, a buyout by Microsoft would have been more fun for us here at the Graveyard, but now we'll never know.  Sweden-based IFS has sold a majority stake to Sweden-based private equity firm EQT Partners.  The deal works out to about 2.7 times TTM revenues of US $330M, and nearly 30x EBIT of $35M.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Epi-junk?

Yowza.  Those who have followed this blog for a while know that I'm constantly aghast at the brazenness of the financial owners of legacy ERP companies - crafting exotic debt instruments, levering up the companies they acquire (and, in a sense, their customers) ... all the while, finding plenty of ways to pay themselves extravagant dividends.

Well, Bloomberg is reporting that Apax Partners, owners of Epicor, had to go hat in hand to Jefferies Group to "arrange" $2 billion in new borrowings - because two big banks "passed on managing the offering because of concerns it would run afoul of regulatory guidelines against excessive leverage":

The debt sale, along with a spinoff the company is doing at the same time, would push Epicor’s debt to 7.5 times a measure of its earnings, Moody’s Investors Service said in a statement on Monday in which it cut the company’s credit ratings. The leverage is beyond the ratio of 6 times earnings that U.S. banking regulators have said raises concern. Jefferies, a New York-based broker-dealer, falls outside the purview of banking regulators.

That's not all:

Moody’s lowered the credit ratings of Epicor to six levels below investment grade to B3 from B2, citing the “material increase” in leverage and the aggressive financial policies.
S&P changed its outlook on the company’s B rated debt to “negative,” according to a report Monday. The $300 million dividend follows the company’s approximately $380 million payment to Apax in June 2013, the report said.

Wow.  For a somewhat more light-hearted take on this topic, see the collection of Epicor-inspired POE-try here.

Does this mean MS is looking to unload Dynamics?

Well, now this is interesting.

As veteran Microsoft tea-leaf readers like Mary Jo Foley help the world to understand Satya Nadella's recently-announced reorg, Diginomica's Phil Wainewright indulges in a bit of speculation:

The other possible outcome is to put the Dynamics sales and partner organizations up for sale. This alternative strategy would allow Microsoft to focus on its core platform and product engineering strategy without the conflict of having a sales team intent on winning business away from its growing army of third-party partner vendors. Some or all of the ERP products would doubtless be part of that transaction, while Microsoft would likely prefer to retain the CRM product because of the tight integration that’s possible to its Office properties. But the ultimate decision may depend on who the buyer will be.... I think it’s more likely that Microsoft would look to sell off some or all of its legacy ERP portfolio to a ‘friendly’ competitor — one that’s committed to the Microsoft stack. 

He mentions Sage and Unit4, a PE-backed European vendor, as possibilities.

(Lest your humble blogger be accused of selectively parsing the speculation, Wainewright also suggests MS may look to acquire other vendors, rather than divest.  But I think the part I've quoted above makes more sense, and seems plausible given Nadella's recent actions and public statements.  We'll see...)

It's also worth noting that Frank Scavo, noted ERP analyst at Strativa, draws the opposite conclusion.