Germany’s SAP AG said it plans to buy smaller business software maker Sybase Inc for $5.8 billion, gaining technology that allows it to deliver accounting software and other programmes to smartphones.
The acquisition would be the second largest in SAP’s nearly 40-year history, and comes after the departure in February of Chief Executive Leo Apotheker, who was replaced by co-CEOs Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe.
SAP’s main rival, Oracle Corp, was the first major software maker to aggressively pursue acquisitions and has spent more than $42 billion to buy about 60 companies.
“SAP finally learned that they should take some clues from Oracle’s playbook. They finally woke up,” said Trip Chowdhry, an analyst with Global Equities Research. “They are late, but late is better than never.”
California-based Sybase sells programmes that make it easy for workers to access business software via smartphones and other mobile devices. SAP uses the technology to let customers access its applications when they are on the road.
“We want to make sure SAP solutions can be accessed from all leading mobile devices. The acquisition of Sybase will allow us and our partners to do just that,” SAP’s Snabe said on a conference call.