SAP Purchase Survives Antitrust Review

The U.S. government gives its OK for the proposed acquisition of business-intelligence software maker Business Objects.
Stephen TaubNovember 7, 2007

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has approved SAP’s $6.8 billion purchase of Paris-based software company Business Objects, a deal that combines two major suppliers of technology used by finance operations.

The FTC noted on its website that the deal was granted “early termination” of its antitrust review before the required waiting period was over. That means the FTC and the Justice Department have determined not to take any antitrust enforcement action.

SAP is the world’s largest provider of business software, providing suite offerings for global organizations as well as applications geared for small and midsize enterprises. Through the purchase, it gains a strong foothold in the business intelligence market, Business Objects’ specialty; the company’s tools help companies better track their performance.

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“The acquisition of Business Objects is in keeping with SAP’s stated strategy to double our addressable market by 2010,” said Henning Kagermann, CEO of SAP, last month. “SAP can now take the opportunity to focus on the industry’s next high-growth opportunity, by accelerating and enhancing our efforts for the Business User category.”

Bernard Liautaud, chairman and founder of Business Objects, said, “The combination of Business Objects and SAP means that we can truly amplify the reach of business intelligence – from the C-suite to Main Street.”

Kagermann said the two companies are “very complementary” and that their client overlap is just 40 percent, according to

Meanwhile, some observers believes SAP was motivated to make the deal to head off the aggressive, expansionist ambitions of Oracle. However, Kagermann told “There is no need for reaction here. We have proven with organic growth that we can outperform the market. We have the largest and best ecosystem. We have many clients asking for highly, tightly integrated solutions, and we can expand our customer base and exploit up-selling opportunities.”