SAP Buys Sybase

Dan Berthiaume
SAP America, the U.S. subsidiary of global enterprise solutions giant SAP, is purchasing Sybase for $5.8 billion. The deal is aimed at producing what SAP calls synergy in enabling "unwired enterprises."

SAP is singling out a key Sybase strength it says will improve the reach of its product offerings: mobility. Leveraging Sybase's mobile computing expertise, SAP intends to accelerate the reach of its solutions across mobile platforms. As a result, the company hopes to drive higher user adoption of SAP software and create additional business value out of existing customer investments. Sybase's mobile platform will also enable users to connect SAP solutions to non-SAP applications in the mobile space.

For Sybase, which will operate as a stand-alone unit known as "Sybase, an SAP Company," SAP's in-memory technology should prove complementary to its analytic processing capabilities and core database business.

In addition to technology synergies, the deal also offers the potential for business synergies. Sybase will be able to provide its event processing and analytics capabilities to companies beyond the financial sector where it has most of its strength, and SAP will gain greater access to the estimated 4 billion global mobile subscribers.

Beyond all else, mobility is the reason SAP is pulling the trigger on this multibillion-dollar acquisition. Mobile devices are rapidly becoming the de facto means for accessing the internet among consumers, and even business users are finding mobile devices to be ideal access points to distributed, virtual enterprises. Considering how rapidly mobile infrastructure has matured (especially outside the U.S.), purchasing an established, quality mobile platform like the one Sybase has to offer makes more sense than developing one from scratch, even with a nearly $6 billion price tag.

As part of the deal, SAP said it will add full support for the Sybase database to its suite of applications, which has been an ongoing source of contention between the two companies as SAP has never fully embraced the row-level locking capabilities of the Sybase database.

The transaction is expected to close during the third quarter of 2010.



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