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SAP Takes Triversity For Retail

Proving that it isn't going to sit on its laurels while rival Oracle snaps up applications specialists, SAP AG agreed to acquire retail software maker Triversity for a private sum.

Toronto, Canada-based Triversity is a top maker of point-of-sale (POS) software, which helps computers in retail stores execute purchases. The company makes applications that cover traditional and enterprise POS, store inventory management, POS loss prevention, customer loyalty and multi-channel customer service.

SAP isn't filling a hole with the purchase, but it is beefing up its broad retail software portfolio after losing its bid to acquire Retek to top competitor Oracle.

SAP said in a statement that Triversity's software is "highly complementary" to its existing retail solution offering, which includes applications for financial management, human resources, supplier relationship management and customer relationship management.

SAP's software also helps prop up merchandise management and planning, store and channel management, demand forecasting, replenishment and workforce management to help companies sell products to consumers.

SAP also believes the deal, expected to close in October, shouldn't faze Tiversity's 250 customers much because the vendors share common customers, including Trader Joe's, The Body Shop and Wawa.

The German applications leader also said more than 2,700 retailers worldwide are SAP customers, 400 of which are using applications from its retail portfolio.

Applications makers like SAP and Oracle see the retail industry as a significant, multi-billion-dollar growth opportunity because more and more retailers have ceased making their own proprietary software to run operations.

Vendors are aggressively pushing so-called open software standards, in which software from one vendor will work with applications from a competing vendor. Enterprises are listening, seeking out solutions from Oracle, SAP and others.

"The acquisition of Triversity falls right in line with our strategy of acquiring companies to enhance product functionality and extend our leading position within key industry verticals," said Bill McDermott, president and CEO of SAP America, in a statement. "Our acquisition strategy is not to acquire customers, but rather to help serve our customers better."

Oracle, meanwhile, has been on a tear in the applications space, acquiring PeopleSoft, Retek and most recently Siebel to better compete with SAP, which is still the largest applications maker in the world.

SAP's bid to buy Triversity can be viewed as more than just a competitive coup: It's a marketing ploy to detract attention from Oracle's Open World conference this week in San Francisco, where the company announced a third iteration of its Application Server 10g.