RealTime IT News

Lawson, Intentia Hustle For The Middle

Lawson Software and Intentia announced a $480 million all-stock merger of equals that muscles them into the mid-market software segment.

The deal, which is subject to certain closing conditions before it can be finalized, would combine Lawson's strength in the U.S. with Intentia's strong presence in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

Officials say there is little overlap in the business each provides to customers. Lawson, headquartered in St. Paul, Minn., develops software with a focus on financial, human resources, procurement and retailing. Stockholm, Sweden-based Intentia caters to manufacturing, distribution and maintenance products.

Major software vendors like IBM , Microsoft , Siebel and SAP for years have focused much of their attention on large enterprise customers, companies with the resources to buy licenses and support for large networks.

In recent times, however, spending has leveled and forced the companies to consolidate and tailor their offerings to a smaller customer base.

"The combination of two companies of similar size will provide the scale to greatly enhance our global competitive position, and will present a strong new choice in the enterprise applications marketplace to fill the gap created by industry consolidation," Richard Lawson, Lawson chairman of the board, said in a statement.

"The mid-market needs a provider with global reach, a broad product portfolio, industry-specific solutions across multiple categories, world-class partners and staying power."

If the deal is approved, Lawson will give .45 shares of stock for every share of Series B stock held by Intentia shareholders. Lawson will retain the company name, but in almost every other area, the combined company will run jointly from executives at both companies.

Lawson and Romesh Wadhwani, Intentia chairman, will serve as co-chairmen of the new company's board. Bertrand Sciard, Intentia president and CEO, will take over as COO at Lawson while Robert Barbieri, will continue in his role as chief financial and performance officer.

The only planned defection is Jay Coughlan, Lawson president and CEO, who announced Thursday he would leave the company following a transition period.

"After 18 years with Lawson, this was a difficult decision for me, but with the combination of Lawson and Intentia and after a lot of discussion with my family, I felt the timing was right," Coughlan said in a statement.

Taking his place is Harry Debes, former president and CEO of electrical utility industry enterprise software developer SPL WorldGroup. Debes will oversee the day-to-day operations of a company that will span far beyond just the electrical utility industry. He will join Lawson June 15.

Last month, Lawson tied its software offerings around IBM's service-oriented architecture platform, signing an agreement to develop its Landmark application process on top of IBM WebSphere, Rational and Tivoli software. Both Intentia and Lawson are IBM partners on eServer programs.