SAP aims to acquire forecasting software vendor SAF

Already a reseller of SAF's products, SAP wants the simulation, analysis and forecasting firm for its retail smarts

SAP plans to buy SAF Simulation, Analysis and Forecasting, a Swiss developer of retail forecasting software.

The German giant already resells SAF's analysis tool as part of the forecasting and replenishment module of its ERP (enterprise resource planning) software, but now wants full control of the smaller company.

SAF's three main products, SuperForecast, SuperStore and SuperWarehouse, help retailers and wholesalers to forecast sales and automate the reordering of goods. The goal is to help users reduce inventory without having to tell a customer they are out of stock.

SAF employs over 90 staff, and SAP over 51,500, according to their Web sites.

SAP's offer of EUR11.50 (US$16.35) per share for SAF values the company at around EUR63.7 million based on the number of shares outstanding. That's significantly less than the EUR97.5 million it raised in its April 2006 initial public offering (IPO), but represents a premium of 9.5 percent over the company's closing price on Friday, and a 33 percent premium over the average price for the last three months, SAP said. SAF shares jumped to EUR12 in early trading Monday before falling back to a little below the offer price.

The deal requires approval from the holders of over 50 percent of SAF shares: SAP said SAF's two largest shareholders, who together hold around 38 percent of the company, have already accepted its offer. SAP gave no indication when it expects the deal to close, saying that it would publish full details of its offer shortly.

SAP has been cherry-picking small businesses that it thinks can enhance its product portfolio. In May it announced plans to buy Highdeal, a developer of software for maximizing profits by setting prices and billing for services in real time.

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