Epicor up for Sale


IDG News Service - Epicor has been put up for sale by private equity
firm Apax Partners, which is hoping to get up to $3.5 billion for the
ERP (enterprise resource planning) vendor, according to a report in
the Wall Street Journal, but analysts say it's difficult to pin down
who might be interested in buying it.

Apax bought Epicor in 2011 and then combined it with another ERP
company, Activant, in a deal worth about $2 billion. Epicor had nearly
$1 billion in revenue last year. Sources told the Journal that Epicor
could go for between $2.5 billion and $3.5 billion, including the debt
on its books.

A spokeswoman for Apax Partners declined comment on Wednesday. Epicor
didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Epicor recently finished optimizing its flagship ERP suite for
Microsoft's technology stack in order to speed up the software and
make it easier for development teams to release new features.

It also revamped the user interface, adding support for touch-based
devices and the means to personalize screens to a user's liking. In
hindsight, those moves may have partly been done to make Epicor more
appealing to acquirers, although many of its customers are running
other suites gained through the company's long series of acquisitions.

Epicor's focus on small and mid-size manufacturers, retailers,
distributors and services companies could make it of interest "for a
number of ERP vendors looking to expand their vertical presence around
the world," said independent enterprise applications analyst China
Martens, via email.

The company "is still in ramp-up mode for its pure SaaS ERP software
so any purchaser would be buying more of an installed on-premises
customer base on a variety of ERP products," Martens added.

Given the high potential price tag, Epicor's midmarket competitors may
shy away from a bid, Martens said. But one possibility could be
private equity-backed Unit4, she added. "Back in January, new Unit4
CEO Jose Duarte talked about aggressively positioning UNIT4 around a
vertical strategy," Martens said. "He also said at the time that Unit4
wasn't looking to focus on manufacturing as a key vertical, but
acquiring Epicor could add in that focus as well as adding strength in
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