SAP AG, the German company that produces software used to manage and optimize business operations, agreed to acquire Ariba Inc. for $4.3 billion in what represents SAP’s biggest push into cloud computing. Ariba develops cloud collaboration software that facilitates the discovery of trading partners. Ariba’s commerce network empowers buyers to find suppliers, sellers to find customers and finance professionals to find better ways of managing capital. Additionally, the Ariba network facilitates the sharing of information regarding best practices and topics of interest more generally. SAP’s acquisition price of $4.3 billion amounts to $45 a share, roughly 20% more than the closing share price on Monday, May 21 of $37.64. On Tuesday, May 22, Ariba shares soared toward the acquisition share price by closing at $44.77.
According to Bloomberg, SAP’s acquisition of Ariba represents the largest enterprise software acquisition since HP’s purchase of Autonomy for north of $10 billion in August 2011. The acquisition is expected to bolster SAP’s positioning with respect to cloud-based software in relation to its nemesis, Oracle, which has also made great strides in the space over the last year. Most recently, SAP acquired SuccessFactors in December for $3.4 billion whereas Oracle purchased cloud-based talent management vendor Taleo and cloud-customer service provider, RightNow Technologies.