SAP makes biggest deal since 2014, CEO backs Trump’s tax plan
SAP SE Chief Executive Officer Bill McDermott has backed U.S. President Donald Trump’s tax plan, and revealed a $2.4 billion deal for Callidus Software Inc., its biggest acquisition in more than three years.
SAP said Tuesday it will pay $36 a share for Dublin, California-based Callidus, known as CallidusCloud, to give Europe’s biggest software company access to new sales analytic and customer engagement tools.
The Walldorf, Germany-based company also reported fourth quarter earnings, generating sales of 6.8 billion euros ($8.4 billion) in the period, in line with analysts’ expectations, due to uptake of its flagship business software S/4 Hana. New cloud bookings, a keenly watched metric for future sales growth, grew 31 percent at constant currencies.
Trump’s tax plan was “extremely well received” by CEOs at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week, McDermott said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.
“There was not a single CEO I talked to that wasn’t feeling good about the economic momentum,” he said. “2018 will be the year for investing in jobs, manufacturing, growth.”
McDermott, who sat next to Trump during his meeting with business leaders in Davos, has been expanding cloud-based services to challenge rivals such as Salesforce.com Inc. and Oracle Corp. and serve clients using the software to run sales, manufacturing and human resources functions.
Yet after swallowing Ariba Inc., Concur Technologies Inc. and SuccessFactors Inc. for a combined $15 billion in acquisitions between 2012 and 2014, SAP has been relatively quiet in the business software arms race.
SAP rose as much as 1 percent in Frankfurt trading Tuesday.
While McDermott said the deal doesn’t represent a return to a strategy of major acquisitions, it’s the biggest purchase since the $7.4 billion Concur deal that was announced in September 2014. Shares of Callidus closed at $32.7 as of end-of-trading Monday.
Meanwhile, SAP’s flagship S/4 Hana software added 1,000 customers including Unilever NV and Puma SE in the fourth quarter to reach more than 7,900 users, a greater intake than in the previous three-month period. The software allows businesses to run tasks on their own machines or in a cloud-computing arrangement hosted by SAP or one of its partners.
Operating profit, excluding share-based compensation, amortization and other charges, was 2.36 billion euros, missing the average estimate of 2.4 billion euros. The company sees non-IFRS operating profit in a range of 7.3 billion euros to 7.5 billion euros this year.
SAP’s results fell slightly short of consensus because of “weaker-than-expected” license order entry in the final three months of the year, said Knut Woller, an analyst at Baader Bank AG, a miss seen as a “cycle hiccup” rather than the beginning of a negative trend.
SAP said the deal will be “essentially neutral” to non-IFRS earnings-per-share for fiscal 2018 and accretive to EPS in fiscal 2019. SAP will fund the acquisition with existing cash reserves and an acquisition loan. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018, subject to approval from regulators and investors, SAP said in the statement.