Jan
16
2019
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Infor lands $1.5 billion investment ahead of IPO

Infor, a NYC-based enterprise software company, announced a massive $1.5 billion investment today that could be the precursor to an IPO in the next 12-24 months. One analyst is estimating that the valuation could be at least $60 billion.

The investment is being led by Koch Industries’ investment arm, Koch Equity Development, and Golden Gate Capital. Today’s investment comes on top of a $2 billion+ cash infusion from Koch in 2017, bringing the total raised to at least more than $3.5 billion along with a hefty $6.1 billion in debt. That’s a lot of cash.

In fact, the company plans to use a large portion of today’s investment to pay down part of that debt, including $500 million in senior secured notes due in 2020, which it plans to pay off next month, and $750 million in HoldCo senior contingent cash pay notes due in 2021, which it plans to pay off in May. The thinking is that the company wants to reduce its debt load ahead of its IPO.

“We expect this paydown, in combination with cash flows and estimated IPO proceeds, will provide Infor with leverage levels consistent with other successful IPOs over the past few years,” Infor CFO Kevin Samuelson explained during an investor call today.

The company wouldn’t rule out additional investments before going public, but it was looking firmly toward an IPO. “We’ve spoken for some time about the many advantages that we believe Infor will receive if the company goes public, including improved brand recognition, a broader employee equity program, additional currency for M&A and more financial clarity for our customers and prospects,” Samuelson said.

Infor may be the largest company you never heard of, with more than 17,000 employees and 68,000 customers in more than 100 countries worldwide. All of those customers generated $3 billion in revenue in 2018. That’s a significant presence.

Ray Wang, founder and principal analyst at Constellation Research, told TechCrunch that based on that revenue, he believes the valuation could be in the neighborhood of $60 billion. He based that on $3 billion in revenue, while using Oracle and SAP as similar industry comparisons. These companies have a 20X price/earnings ratio. He adds, that would make it the largest tech IPO ever for a NYC tech company if that comes to pass. Infor would not confirm this number with a spokesperson telling TechCrunch, “We cannot comment on value at this time.”

What does this company do to achieve this size and scope? It’s not unlike many other large enterprise companies, says Wang. It produces cloud software solutions around typical enterprise needs such as CRM, ERP and supply chain asset management.

Daniel Newman, principal analyst at Futurum Research, says that Infor has grown rapidly through a series of acquisitions and an unusual approach to enterprise software. “What makes its approach to enterprise software unique is that rather than building software and then attempting to customize it for the unique [customer] needs, Infor takes an industry-based approach that incorporates both subtle and material capabilities to address specific industry needs that more generic ERP tools aren’t capable of out of the box,” Newman told TechCrunch.

He adds that this difference is attractive to many companies seeking ERP and enterprise asset management tools that are built with their business in mind, rather than completely customizing a software designed for any business in any industry.

As it turns out, Koch isn’t just an investor, it’s an Infor customer. “Koch was a customer of Infor before we became an investor in the company, and Koch Industries’ companies continue to move their most mission critical applications to Infor CloudSuites,” Jim Hannan, executive vice president and CEO for Enterprises at Koch Industries said in a statement.

The company, which was founded way back in 2002, has been shifting to the cloud over the last five years. It reports that more than 70 percent of its revenue is now derived from cloud products, fueled in part by an aggressive acquisition strategy.

Jun
05
2018
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SAP gives CRM another shot with with new cloud-based suite

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a mature market with a clear market leader in Salesforce. It has a bunch other enterprise players like Microsoft, Oracle and SAP vying for position. SAP decided to take another shot today when it released a new business products suite called SAP C/4HANA. (Ya, catchy I know.)

SAP C/4HANA pulls together several acquisitions from the last several years. It started in 2013 when it bought Hybris for around a billion dollars. That gave them a logistics tracking piece. Then last year it got Gigya for $350 million, giving them a way to track customer identity. This year it bought the final piece when it paid $2.4 billion for CallidusCloud for a configure, price quote (CPQ) piece.

SAP has taken these three pieces and packaged them together into a customer relationship management package. They see this term much more broadly than simply tracking a database of names and vital information on customers. They hope with these products to give their customers a way to provide consumer data protection, marketing, commerce, sales and customer service.

They see this approach as different, but it’s really more of what the other players are doing by packaging sales, service and marketing into a single platform. “The legacy CRM systems are all about sales; SAP C/4HANA is all about the consumer. We recognize that every part of a business needs to be focused on a single view of the consumer. When you connect all SAP applications together in an intelligent cloud suite, the demand chain directly fuels the behaviors of the supply chain,” CEO Bill McDermott said in a statement.

It’s interesting that McDermott goes after legacy CRM tools because his company has offered its share of them over the years, but its market share has been headed in the wrong direction. This new cloud-based package is designed to change that. If you can’t build it, you can buy it, and that’s what SAP has done here.

Brent Leary, owner at CRM Essentials, who has been watching this market for many years says that while SAP has a big back-office customer base in ERP, it’s going to be tough to pull customers back to SAP as a CRM provider. “I think their huge base of ERP customers provides them with an opportunity to begin making inroads, but it will be tough as mindshare for CRM/Customer Engagement has moved away from SAP,” he told TechCrunch.

He says that it will be important with this new product to find its niche in a defined market. “It will be imperative going forward for SAP find spots to “own” in the minds of corporate buyers in order to optimize their chances of success against their main competitors,” he said.

It’s obviously not going to be easy, but SAP has used its cash to buy some companies and give it another shot. Time will tell if it was money well spent.

Aug
02
2017
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Oracle delivers bevy of updates to its cloud suite

 Oracle might not be the first company you think of when it comes to cloud computing, but the company has made significant strides in recent years. Today, it announced the bi-annual update to its Oracle Cloud Applications Suite. This is update number 13 for those keeping score at home. The suite includes a range of enterprise software including ERP (think back-office management), HR and CRM/CX… Read More

Jul
11
2017
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SAP wants to bridge the gap between IoT and business data

 SAP announced a new tool today called the Leonardo IoT Bridge designed to help bridge the gap between data coming from sensors in the field and business systems operating inside a firm.
The manufacturing sector is in the middle of a massive shift where machines are being equipped with sensors that transmit torrents of data about their health, and the environment around them, over the… Read More

Apr
24
2017
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New Microsoft tools integrate LinkedIn data directly into Dynamics 365

 Microsoft announced some significant integrations between LinkedIn, the professional social network it bought last year for over $26 billion and Microsoft Dynamics 365, the company’s CRM and ERP suite. It was clear that when Microsoft paid that much money for LinkedIn, it had plans to use that data in other Microsoft products. Those ideas began to emerge last summer with some Office… Read More

Mar
08
2017
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Google announces significant partnership with SAP at Google Cloud Next Conference

 Google announced onstage today at Google Cloud Next a partnership with SAP to deliver SAP HANA, the company’s in-memory database on Google Cloud Platform. It’s a big deal for a number of reasons. First of all, it gives Google a major enterprise customer for its cloud platform, something that it’s trying to promote in big way. Secondly, it gives them an established… Read More

Feb
09
2017
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SAP adds AI and integrated analytics in latest cloud release

SAP logo on wall in company headquarters SAP is about as traditional a legacy vendor as you are likely to find, delivering complex on-prem ERP solutions for the largest organizations on the planet. But like everyone else, SAP sees a future in which companies rely less on software installed in private data centers and more on public cloud products to handle the heavy lifting for them. And SAP S/4HANA, the company’s public… Read More

Oct
11
2016
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Microsoft announces GA of Dynamics 365 with AI features

A Microsoft logo sits on a flag flying in the grounds of the Nokia Oyj mobile handset factory, operated by Microsoft Corp., in Komarom, Hungary, on Monday, July 21, 2014. Microsoft said it will eliminate as many as 18,000 jobs, the largest round of cuts in its history, as Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella integrates Nokia Oyj's handset unit and slims down the software maker. Photographer: Akos Stiller/Bloomberg via Getty Images We’ve been hearing all artificial intelligence, all the time from the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) industry over the last several weeks. Microsoft is the latest to trumpet its AI capabilities for sales people with the general availability of Dynamics 365 coming on November 1st.
Microsoft announced last summer that it was going to be combining its ERP and CRM into a unified… Read More

Jul
29
2016
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Oracle takes the cloud revenue fast track with $9.3 billion Netsuite deal

Larry Ellison, chairman of Oracle Corp. When Oracle bought NetSuite yesterday for a cool $9.3 billion in cash, it let the world know it was now totally serious about growing cloud computing revenue. That wasn’t always the case. In the early days of the cloud, Oracle was content to sit on the sidelines and make fun, while it raked in traditional license and maintenance revenue. In fact, CEO Larry Ellison famously ridiculed… Read More

Jul
06
2016
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Microsoft gives Salesforce a shove with new Dynamics 365 integrated cloud platform

Boys in kitchen throwing flour at each other. Microsoft announced its intention today to combine the Dynamics CRM and ERP products into an integrated platform on top of which it is hoping third parties will build applications. It’s a complex announcement with many pieces, but Dynamics 365 shares more than its name with Office 365, it also has deep connections with the cloud office suite, as well as to Cortana voice intelligence… Read More

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