“Sho(pping) time!” After Mobile Worker, it’s Verticalnet’s turn to loose its independence, being in the process of being acquired by BravoSolution, an Italcimenti’s subsidiary. The acquisition will give birth to a EUR40 Million Spend Management Solutions provider, with good presence in US and Europe. Another good move from BravoSolution, as the cost of the transaction was agreed ridiculously low to balance the weak financial situation of VerticalNet: Acquisition for a song. Consolidation is going on and the number of financially-and-operationally robust ePurchasing solutions providers is getting very small, BravoSolution being probably one of them.
A big interrogation and potential regret – to me – still opened is about the future of VerticalNet’s excellent software: will it be integrated with Bravo’s current offering or not; Time will tell.
At last, a thought: It looks like price pressure is still going on and disabling ePurchasing solutions providers to increase their revenue and/or margin. When you consider the number of active customers a specialised ePurchasing solution provider have and compare it to SAP or Oracle footprint, then you understand how the battle is unbalanced and probably realise that ERP comeback – on this topic – is just a question of time.
[Abstract Financial Times – 29 oct 2007] Italian eSourcing specialist BravoSolution has moved into the US supply management market by agreeing to acquire Verticalnet for $15.2m, inclusive of debt. The Italian company, a subsidiary of cement maker Italcementi, is already present in Italy, France, Spain, the UK and China. Verticalnet generated sales of $16.2m in last year, giving the new BravoSolution USA total revenues of more than $60m.
The board of Verticalnet has already unanimously approved the acquisition, which must now receive authorisation from the US firm’s shareholders.
You can read more here from RedHerring.
Indeed, software wants to be free. Which is a major problem for software vendors, both best of breed and ERP. I doubt this means there will be a comeback of the ERP vendors. Have you seen how cheaply SAP is pushing e-sourcing these days? Not much margin in there for them, even. Whyabe is already free if all you want is a piece of e-sourcing software. Coupa is almost free if you are interested in e-procurement.
The market’s reaction to the news was muted, at best. See http://alanbuxton.wordpress.com/2007/10/31/bravo-and-verticalnet-what-the-markets-think/
See also Michael L’s comment on the post.