Troubled supply chain vendor Manugistics is believed to be close to selling out to one of the major enterprise resource applications vendors.
Yesterday, AMR Research issued a report suggesting that, while such a deal was on the cards, it was still unclear which potential buyer would win out, however.
According to AMR, Manugistics has been talking to Oracle, SAP, J D Edwards and rival, i2 Techologies, but previously reported negotiations with PeopleSoft have fallen through.
The internal rumour mill at Manugistics suggests that the real front runners are either Oracle or i2, but Bruce Richardson, vice president of research strategy at AMR, said: "That?s disappointing the people I spoke with in Europe who hoped for SAP or i2."
But he believes that while a deal with SAP would make the best sense, SAP is not so keen.
He explained: "The issue with SAP is that Hasso Plattner (the firm?s joint chief executive) hates acquisitions. I don't think he would hate this one if he knew how APO (SAP's supply chain suite) actually lagged in the market. The product is at least a year away from being fully functional."
He reckons that such a transaction would help SAP generate hundreds of millions of dollars during 1999, at a time when SAP?s license sales pipeline in the Americas is looking much thinner than before.
"Assume worst case that SAP only grows 10 percent for Q1 or maybe the first half - it may start to lose its mystique, allure and just become another fish in the barrel," he added.
Investors apparently paid little attention to the report, however, with Manugistics Nasdaq-listed shares off 25 cents at $12.9375 in late trading on Tuesday. The stock continued to slide in early trading today.
An official at Manugistics would only say: "A collaborative deal or restructuring are options being actively considered. We?ll make a firm announcement before the end of the month."
The manufacturing applications supplier reported third quarter losses of $10.4 million in December. At the time, it also signaled that it is looking for a white knight to bail it out of the financial morass into which some analysts have said it is sinking fast.
One said: "They?ve got great technology, but can?t sell. They? re fighting against much smoother marketing operations - and losing."
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