SAP find the price is right for Canadian retail software firm

The head of a Toronto retail software company will have a special present to celebrate the firm’s 15th anniversary this month: A new owner.Privately-held Triversity Inc., which makes point-of-sale and related applications, is being bought by SAP AG to become the German company’s tool for expanding deeper into the retail industry.
“It’s been a great ride,” said company CEO David Thomas, a Triversity co-founder who held the firm steady through a period of flat sales four years ago.
“Now I’ll be able to go much faster with the resources that I’ll have available to me.”
Jim McMurray, senior vice-president of SAP America’s retail business unit, said Triversity’s development staff here will be expanded.
SAP bought the company because Triversity’s in-store systems — which range from transaction to loss prevention applications — filled a “gaping hole” in the German company’s product line.
SAP’s enterprise resource management applications offer back-end financial, purchasing and supply chain applications. But with the purchase SAP will be able to offer a complete solution to customers, he said.
Thomas and all of the management staff have been asked to stay, although it hasn’t been decided yet if the Triversity name will survive.
The parties refused to disclose the selling price for the Canadian firm, which has some 228 employees and 250 customers ranging from Indigo Books and Staples in Canada to the U.S. Marines’ post exchange stores. The deal needs regulatory approval in Germany but is expected to close at the end of this month.
The deal began germinating about six months ago, when Triversity started preparing to make an initial public offering. “I think our bankers ran into their bankers,” said Thomas.
Around that time SAP was in a bidding war for Retek Inc., another retail applications specialist, a fight it ultimately lost to Oracle.
But Triversity isn’t a consolationprize, said McMuray. “Even if we had completed the Retek acquisition we would likely have acquired Triversity because its solutions are much deeper and built on better technology.”
About 90 days ago a formal offer came to Triversity’s board and it was officially approved Sept. 16.
Triversity’s small number of channel partners may not see much of a benefit. Thomas estimated that 90 per cent of his company’s sales are generated by its own sales force, and McMurray said that SAP will likely drive most sales direct.
SAP will look at whether Triversity solutions can be offered through its channel of solution providers, he said. But, he added, “I wouldn’t suggest we’ll make radical shifts” in market strategy.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of ITWorldCanada.com and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including ITBusiness.ca and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@] soloreporter.com

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