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March 2, 1999


By CBR Staff Writer

A new cloud of uncertainty hung over Dutch ERP vendor Baan Company NV after revelations that its biggest investor had been forced to sell 8 percent of the companyÆs equity to reduce debts. Vanenburg Ventures, which was set up by BaanÆs founders John and Paul Baan, reduced its stake from 38% to 30%. The shares had been used as collateral for loans and had to be sold earlier this month after the company issued a profit warning (CI No 3,515). But with the collapse in the companyÆs share price – down 80% from the yearÆs high in April – Vanenburg said the lenders had sold a number of those pledged shares to reduce the balance of the loans. Vanenburg will not reveal the extent of its debts but said it would take action to prevent further sales of Baan shares. These measures would include discontinuing non-strategic activities and spinning off companies to attract other investors. Vanenburg has been a continuing source of embarrassment to Baan. It had considerable investments in the major distributor of Baan software and also held stakes in Baan resellers. Following pressure from financial institutions, it promised earlier this year to divest its holdings in these sensitive areas (CI No 3,446). Baan shares are currentlytrading at around $11.25, down from a yearÆs high of $55.50.

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