Epicor acquires specialized midmarket ERP vendor Solarsoft

The deal gives Epicor a stronger play in manufacturing and distribution

Epicor has acquired ERP (enterprise resource planning) software vendor Solarsoft Business Systems from investment firm Marin Equity Partners in a bid to increase its presence in a number of vertical industries, the companies announced Thursday. Terms of the deal, which is expected to be completed in 45 days, were not disclosed.

Solarsoft's focus is on midsized manufacturing and distribution companies, and within those categories, industries such as lumber and building materials, automotive and packaging, according to a statement. The move follows Epicor's merger last year with Activant, which also specialized in distribution.

In addition, Solarsoft has products and experience regarding process manufacturing, which refers to industries such as food and beverage and pharmaceuticals. It also will bring "data center investments that will enhance the delivery of Solarsoft and Epicor cloud-based ERP, SaaS (software as a service), hosting, and managed services offerings," according to a statement.

Epicor recently announced that its cloud-based ERP product, initially launched for very small companies, would be made available to midmarket customers.

It has about 2,000 customers and annual sales of US$90 million. The combined company will have close to $1 billion in annual revenue, cementing Epicor's place as one of the industry's largest ERP vendors after Oracle, SAP and Infor.

Solarsoft is almost "a mini version of Epicor," said analyst Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research.

Epicor will benefit from Solarsoft's specialized software, which caters to specialized industry needs that can't be met by a general-purpose ERP system, Wang said. For example, food and beverage companies need "traceability" for their products in order to deal with issues like food recalls, he said.

The deal also reflects how Epicor has chosen to grow its business further, Wang said.

"There are a couple of ways to go in ERP these days: Try to get really, really big with a horizontal stack or go after a lot of specialty verticals," he said. "[Customers] will still be willing to switch if you have the industry expertise."

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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