Infor makes unsolicited $1.84B bid for ERP vendor Lawson

Infor offers US$11.25 per share for Lawson

Lawson Software received an unsolicited buy out offer of US$11.25 per share, or around $1.84 billion, from rival ERP (enterprise resource planning) software vendor Infor.

Lawson confirmed the offer from Infor and its parent, private equity firm Golden Gate Capital, late Friday. A deal had been rumored all week. The offer price is slightly below the $11.55 per share Lawson's stock closed at on Friday.

Lawson did not provide the overall value of the deal. The $1.84 billion figure was derived from the total number of shares outstanding the company reported in its most recent quarterly earnings statement in January.

Infor, along with Lawson, is one of the industry's largest remaining ERP vendors after SAP, Oracle and Microsoft. Lawson reported $736.4 million in revenues during its fiscal 2010 and had a market capitalization of $1.89 billion on Friday.

Lawson has retained Barclay's Capital as an advisor on the potential deal, and "has not made any determination to sell the company or engage in any other strategic transaction," according to a statement.

It will not comment further on the possible acquisition until an agreement is finalized, talks are ended or Lawson's board completes a review of the offer, the statement adds.

Infor did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Last year, the company named former Oracle co-president Charles Phillips as CEO.

Phillips was known at Oracle for his key role in that company's long string of acquisitions over the past several years.

Rumors that Lawson would be sold have swirled since activist investor Carl Icahn took a stake in the company last year. Icahn is known for his tendency to push for changes in company strategy that he believes would benefit stockholders, including a sale.

The deal makes sense for Infor, as it gives the company inroads into verticals such as health care and human resources, said analyst Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research.

That said, "Lawson would be fine on its own as an independent company," as its CEO, Harry Debes, has done a solid job, Wang said.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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