Workbrain acquired by Infor in US$227 million deal

Acquisitive midmarket applications player Infor Global Solutions is at it again. The company announced Monday plans to purchase Canadian online workforce management software vendor Workbrain Corp. for around US$227 million in cash.

Infor’s offer represents a 25.6 percent premium over Workbrain’s Friday’s average share price on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Workbrain’s board has unanimously approved the deal, according to a release. Subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals, Infor expects to close the transaction in June.

Workbrain’s customers include British Airways PLC, General Mills Inc. and Target Corp.

Infor plans to use Workbrain’s software to expand its existing human capital management (HCM) software particularly in the areas of time and attendance, scheduling, absence management and workforce planning.

In a conference call Workbrain chief executive David Ossip said the firm’s board went looking for suitors late last year, including Infor, but decided earlier this year to remain as a standalone entity. The subsequent Infor offer, he said, was unsolicited.

“We’ve all seen that size and scale does matter,” he said, though he refused to comment on whether Workbrain got any other offers from Oracle or SAP. “We did run a thorough process that was supervised by the independent members of our board.”

Ossip said he hoped to stay on with Infor and grow the Workbrain side of the business following the close of the transaction. “The company obviously is very much under my skin,” he said.

HCM is an increasingly popular set of ERP (enterprise resource planning) applications which help companies automate their human resources processes, from the initial hiring of a new employee through to tracking that individual’s performance while working for the organization.

Earlier this year, when Oracle Corp. announced major upgrades to its families of enterprise applications, the vendor highlighted new HCM features including talent management in its PeopleSoft Enterprise 9.0 ERP software.

Founded in 2002 as Agilisys, Infor has purchased more than 18 companies to date and is funded by private equity firm Golden Gate Capital. The company has over 70,000 customers for its ERP, CRM (customer relationship management), asset management and analytics software.

In February, Infor announced it had bought Profuse, a provider of consulting services in Belgium and the Netherlands for Infor’s ERP LN and Baan software, for an undisclosed sum. Infor acquired the LN and Baan products through its US$1.4 billion purchase of SSA Global last year.

Infor CEO Jim Schaper said the company already had some HCM components, but Workbrain adds expertise and technology around time and attendence and absence managment.

“When you look at the Workbrain cross-section of customers, they overlay quite nicely with our vertical markets,” he said, including government and retail. “This will become our HCM Centre of Excellence.”

By purchasing SSA Global, Extensity and Systems Union last year, Infor grew its annual revenue to $2.1 billion, putting the company in third position sizewise behind longer established players Oracle and SAP AG.

While the market for enterprise applications has tended to be a two-horse race between Oracle and SAP, the midmarket is highly fragmented and those companies and Infor as well as Microsoft Corp. and Lawson Software Inc. are all aggressively competing for users’ hearts and minds. Infor defines the midmarket as customers with annual revenues of between US$50 million and US$2 billion.

— IDG Newswire, with files from Shane Schick

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