SAP to Buy Hybris to Fight Salesforce in E-Commerce Push

SAP AG, the largest maker of business-management software, agreed to buy Switzerland-based Hybris AG to bolster its electronic commerce applications and counter market-share gains by Salesforce.com Inc.

Hybris, founded in 1997 and led by Chief Executive Officer Ariel Luedi and co-founder Carsten Thoma, will operate as an independent unit after the deal is completed in the third quarter, Walldorf, Germany-based SAP said in a statement today.

Financial details for the purchase of Hybris, whose majority shareholder is Palo Alto, California-based private-equity firm HGGC LLC, weren’t disclosed.

Taking over Hybris will help SAP expand its presence in the $37 billion e-commerce technology market, SAP said, citing industry analysts’ estimates. SAP’s sales from so-called customer relationship management software, or CRM, grew just 0.1 percent last year, dropping the German company to number two behind San Francisco-based Salesforce.com, which grew 26 percent, research firm Gartner Inc. said in April.

“We fully wish to unleash the will of SAP on the CRM market place and the competitors that decide to go against us,” SAP co-Chief Executive Officer Bill McDermott said on a conference call. “This is going to be fun.”

Collaborative Commerce

SAP has been expanding in collaborative commerce apps and last year agreed to pay $4.3 billion for Ariba Inc., which facilitates transactions between businesses. SAP plans to tie its Hana data-crunching technology into the service so it’s easier for clients to find and compare what they want, Marc Geall, senior vice president of corporate strategy, said in an interview today.

Hybris, based in Zug, Switzerland, has 650 employees and its main offices are in Munich and Montreal. Its more than 500 corporate customers include General Electric Co., Hennes & Mauritz AB and Ericsson AB. The company had revenue of about $85 million in the last 12 months, it said in a presentation.

SAP bought Successfactors Inc., which makes software used to manage employee performance, last year for $3.4 billion, had 2011 sales of $328 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Salesforce yesterday agreed to buy ExactTarget Inc., which helps customers run advertising campaigns via e-mail, for about $2.5 billion. McDermott said he and other CEOs usually throw marketing e-mails into the spam bin, calling rivals’ moves “quite puzzling.”

SAP declined 0.6 percent to 57.20 euros today in Frankfurt, giving it a market value of 70.3 billion euros ($92 billion).

To contact the reporter on this story: Cornelius Rahn in Berlin at crahn2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net

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