Wednesday, November 21, 2007

SAP To Put “For Sale” on TomorrowNow? | AMR Research

SAP To Put “For Sale” on TomorrowNow? | AMR Research

We’re only a couple of months away from the three-year anniversary of SAP’s purchase of TomorrowNow, a company specializing in third-party maintenance and support of Oracle’s JD Edwards, PeopleSoft, and Siebel software customers. Instead of celebrating, it looks like the couple could be heading for divorce. On November 19, SAP announced that TomorrowNow CEO Andrew Nelson and several other executives were resigning from the company. SAP also said that it was considering a sale of the independent unit. In our view, a sale is likely if only to accelerate the end of the Oracle lawsuit.

On March 22, Oracle filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, alleging that SAP/TomorrowNow had “stolen thousands of proprietary, copyrighted software products and other confidential materials.” Barring a settlement, the trial is headed to court in February. SAP executives would love to eliminate this distraction. It’s a safe bet that Oracle would like to see it continue indefinitely.

Safe Passage on the rocks?

In January 2005, SAP announced its plans to buy TomorrowNow for an undisclosed amount. The press release hit just hours after Oracle had held a press and customer conference to introduce Project Fusion, which I described at the time as “a futuristic product set and architecture designed as the morphing of the next generation of Oracle and PeopleSoft applications.”

TomorrowNow quickly become the centerpiece for the Safe Passage initiative to migrate PeopleSoft customers to SAP. At the time of the acquisition, SAP had 2,000 customers who were using PeopleSoft.

According to people close to the transaction, the TomorrowNow deal was initiated by SAP’s Shai Agassi despite the concern of some executive board members. It was a surprisingly aggressive piece of guerilla marketing for the very conservative ERP leader.

The most logical buyer would be Rimini Street, a TomorrowNow competitor that also focuses on maintenance and support services for JD Edwards, PeopleSoft, and Siebel customers. Rimini Street was founded in 2005 by Seth Ravin, former co-founder of TomorrowNow, who started the company after he sold his 50% stake in his old firm to SAP. For as long as I have known Mr. Ravin, he has been interested in buying TomorrowNow. He may soon get his chance.

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World: The Sequel

How about this for a scenario: Rimini Street succeeds in buying TomorrowNow from SAP and then later sells the whole business to Oracle. Oracle could continue the discounted maintenance program as a way of ensuring that companies remain as customers or switch them back to standard maintenance. As we have said many times before, all things are possible.

Note: We did reach out to multiple sources at Oracle, Rimini Street, and SAP. All declined to comment.

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