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July 26, 2013

Scoop: Infor hits the acquisition trail

Third-largest ERP vendor ready to spend more cash

By Jason Stamper

Enterprise applications vendor Infor is ready to step up the pace of its acquisitions again, CBR can reveal, after an exclusive interview with CEO Charles Phillips.

Infor was founded in 2002 under the name Agilisys, in Alpahretta, Georgia, and today the new company is the result of around 40 acquisitions. It’s privately held, with the majority shareholder being Golden Gate Capital.

While Infor has historically been very acquisitive, buying companies such as Mapics, Geac, SSA Global and many more, it’s been quieter on the M&A front since it merged with Lawson Software in April 2012.

That marked quite a dramatic change in strategy at the company, too. Four senior executives had joined Infor from Oracle late in 2010 and early 2011, including Phillips. Duncan Angove came over as president of products, marketing and support, Pam Murphy as COO, and Stephan Scholl as EVP global field operations. One Infor insider told CBR nearer the time: "It almost felt like an Oracle takeover."

It has made some relatively small acquisitions since then: Enxsuite (2011); Easy RMS (2012); Groupe Laurier CIM (2012); Orbis Global (2012); and Certpoint Systems and TDCI this year.

But in a phone interview with CBR yesterday, asked whether Infor would up the pace and scale of its acquisitions, Phillips said: "They were on the back burner last year as we made this investment [in new products], we just wanted to get past that and put the money there. Now that we have shipped all these new products we are re-looking – going back to the market, and we’re more likely to do more acquisitions in the next 12 months than we did in the last 12 months."

Asked whether acquisitions are likely to be of horizontal technologies that span multiple industries or more niche software that is specifically aimed at vertical industries, Phillips said: "More verticals. That’s one of our big differentiators, so we want to go that last mile and stick to verticals. There are a lot of companies that know our strategy so they come to us weekly, wanting to partner with us or be bought, so we have a larger list of things that we could pick from that are unlikely to be on the radar screen of a lot of our competitors."

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Since Phillips took the reins at Infor he has dramatically upped its own pace of development, not least hiring 800 more software developers. He told us that in 2010 the firm had 24 product integrations and launched 2,400 new features. With the recent launch of its 10X platform Phillips said the company has 1,169 integrations and has brought 11,500 new features to market. The number of new products shipped has gone from 30 in 2010 to 301 in the last 12 months, he said.

Infor has said that based on preliminary financial results, it expects its fiscal 2013 Q4 software license fees and subscription revenues to grow approximately 10% in constant currency and approximately 9% at actual currency rates compared to its fiscal 2012 Q4.


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