Irivine, Calif. (Dec. 23, 2003) – In a move that not only spells further consolidation in the business application space but stronger competition for Microsoft Business Solutions, Best Software’s UK-based parent company, The Sage Group plc agreed to acquire Pleasanton, Calif.-based Accpac International, Inc. for $110 million in cash.

The acquisition, subject to regulatory approvals, should be completed by the end of February 2004.

The Accpac buy brings an additional 600 employees and 7,000 worldwide resellers to the Best family. Best has approximately 6,600 channel partners in North America.

Accpac’s revenue for the year ended March 31, 2003 was $88.7 million, with an operating profit of $10.3 million.

Globally, Accpac is expected to add more than 540,000 business customers to Best Software’s nearly 1.8 million small-and-midsized customers in the U.S.

In November Sage completed its acquisition of Softline Ltd., which owns the BusinessVision and AccountMate accounting software brands in North America.

Best and Accpac have not been shy about claiming MBS as chief competitor and admittedly they are now a united force against them, among other things.

“Unlike some of our main competitors, our two organizations have always been committed to small to midsized businesses and this acquisition gives us a true worldwide presence,” said Best Software chief executive Ron Verni. “In addition, we have also been trying for years to get a hold of the Canadian market and have had an entrenched competitor there [in Accpac]. And with our recent acquisition of [South African-based accounting software maker] Softline it brings everything full circle.”

Verni said Sage will top $1 billion in revenue and Best Software should top $600 million. Best generated $425 million for fiscal 2003.

Both Verni and Accpac CEO David Hood touted the synergies between the two companies and plan to make their product lines work together as much as possible in the future.

“Joining forces with a large public company dedicated to SMBs increases the overall value proposition to our employees and customers,” said Hood. “We had planned an IPO this year but the fact is the public markets remain uncertain and this is a much more effective way to bring immediate value to everyone. There are an amazing number of synergies between us in products, geography, and the channel combination is extremely strong as well. There is very little overlap.”

Hood explained he has no plans to step aside in the near future and will stay on to see things through for the time being.

-- Seth Fineberg

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