Software vendor Baan is close to being sold, with US-based venture capitalist General Atlantic Partners favourite to buy the firm for around £85m.
General Atlantic already has stakes in 16 European IT firms, mainly software companies targeting particular verticals, such as iSoft (knowledge management for hospitals), Exact (financial software for small and medium-sized enterprises) and RebusHR.
In April it invested $75m (£46m) in Chicago-based mid-market enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendor SSA Global Technologies (SSA GT), which analyst Datamonitor said in a statement could be handed control of Baan if General Atlantic acquires the firm.
Baan was bought by UK firm Invensys three years ago for £466m, but it has failed to take the company forward.
Invensys chief executive Rick Haythornthwaite confirmed last week that he was in talks with several unnamed firms over the sale of Baan.
Two other US companies are also thought to be interested, but it is understood that General Atlantic has currently tabled the highest bid. The firm has actually bought part of Baan before, in early 2000.
Since 1980, General Atlantic has retained interests in around two-thirds of the firms it has invested in. But it maintained that it has a "firm policy not to comment on speculation", when contacted by vnunet.com for comment.
Were the deal to unfold as Datamonitor has predicted, Baan looks quite a mouthful for SSA GT to swallow.
In the three months to the end of April, SSA GT had revenues of $79.1m, an increase of 57 per cent over the third quarter of the 2002 financial year. Baan lost £25m on annual sales of £188m, down from £242m in 2002, Invensys said.
Although its reputation has suffered, Baan has generated new business in eastern Europe recently, despite the market being tough for ERP vendors.
Between January and March, Baan said it signed 28 deals with European firms, including Ungricht and Afflerbach in Germany, PA Krasnoyarsk Combine Harvester Production in Russia, Boytas in Turkey, Huber+Suhner Group in Poland, and Si & Si Company in Serbia.
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