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ERP vendor IFS makes a near-merger with Acumatica

EQT Partners, which owns ERP vendor IFS, has acquired Acumatica, another ERP vendor. Both firms will be working together, sharing leadership and expertise in hope of each broadening market share.

Two ERP vendors, IFS and Acumatica Inc., have completed what can best be described as a near-merger. They will share board leadership, expertise and market strengths, but will maintain their independence -- for now.

EQT Partners, which bought ERP vendor IFS in 2015, has acquired Acumatica, a cloud ERP provider based in Bellevue, Wash. The firms said IFS Chairman Jonas Persson will now serve as chairman of both firms.

IFS and Acumatica differ in size, but not in primary goal, which is to compete against ERP giants Oracle and SAP.

IFS is on course to make about $720 million this year, said IFS CEO Darren Roos. He put Acumatica revenue at about $40 million.

IFS has about 10,000 customers focused on five markets: aerospace and defense, energy and utilities, engineering and construction, manufacturing and service. The Swedish firm claims to have a large user base in the U.S.

Does that mean that the businesses will always be separate? No, it doesn't.
Darren RoosCEO, IFS

Acumatica has about 5,000 customers. It operates in some similar markets as IFS, but focuses on smaller firms, Roos said.

Acumatica, founded in 2008, has garnered praise from analysts for its cloud system. Nucleus Research, for instance, recently gave it a high ranking on its ERP leaderboard. It said the company "continues to lead the way in usability."

"Acumatica is on a tremendous growth trajectory," said Rebecca Wettemann, vice president of research at Nucleus, based in Boston. She said she expects Acumatica to bring a lot of startup energy to the deal, while IFS will contribute its global reach and experience.

IFS has "made a lot of progress" in retooling as a modern ERP cloud vendor, Wettemann said, but "its customer base still tends to be pretty traditional and more going toward on-premises deployments."

The goals of the agreement

Roos said IFS will be able to "globalize and industrialize" Acumatica offerings, as well as add new capability. "We have a breadth of experience and functional capability that is relevant to the same industries that Acumatica serves," he said.

Roos said IFS expects to learn from Acumatica "the ways in which they've enhanced the application to make it easier to use, to make it easier and quicker to deploy." Roos also cited Acumatica's management automation of its cloud application as a key capability.

The deal itself is "structurally a merger without being a merger," Roos said. And there is a good reason for it. Both firms have their own brand identity and are fast-growing, he said.

"Does that mean that the businesses will always be separate? No, it doesn't," Roos said, but it doesn't make sense to merge them at this point.

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