Business-software-maker SAP AG fired another shot yesterday in its duel with Oracle Corp. by announcing plans to buy OutlookSoft Corp. and its line of technology products tailored for budgeting and financial forecasts.
The planned purchase follows Oracle's recently completed $3.3 billion acquisition of Hyperion Solutions Corp., a maker of so-called "business intelligence" software that delves into some of the same areas covered by OutlookSoft's products.
Walldorf, Germany-based SAP, whose headquarters for the Americas is in Newtown Square, is spending considerably less to snap up privately held OutlookSoft. Although financial terms were not released yesterday, Forrester Research Inc. analyst Paul Hammerman estimated the price at $200 million.
Formed in 1999, Stamford, Conn.-based OutlookSoft has about 700 customers and 250 employees, most of whom are expected to join SAP after the acquisition closes in June.
Yesterday's deal is the latest to illustrate the contrasting approaches of SAP and Oracle as they compete for corporate customers, schools and government agencies that rely on software applications that automate a wide range of administrative tasks.
Redwood Shores, Calif.-based Oracle has emerged as a more formidable threat to SAP by spending about $25 billion on 30 acquisitions in the last 21/2 years.
Meanwhile, SAP has focused on luring away customers alienated by Oracle's aggressive expansion while also trying to supplement its product line with smaller, "tuck-in" acquisitions of niche players such as OutlookSoft.
In a sign of the increasing acrimony between the two companies, Oracle has accused SAP of resorting to dirty tricks to steal its customers. In a federal lawsuit filed in March, Oracle alleged that a SAP subsidiary had been improperly hacking into its computers to swipe information about copyrighted software. SAP has denied the allegations.