SAP’s next big deal?

Earlier this week, SAP marked the first anniversary of its largest deal ever, the $6.8bn purchase of Business Objects. Now, some folks in the market are already lining up the next multibillion-dollar acquisition for the German giant. JMP Securities analyst Pat Walravens has floated the idea that SAP may be planning to buy data-warehouse titan Teradata. (Incidentally, Teradata celebrated its own first anniversary this week, having started trading on the NYSE on October 9, 2007.)

The pairing would make a fair amount of sense. We noted a year ago that SAP and Teradata have a deep partnership, sharing more than 200 customers. And SAP clearly needs more technological heft if it wants to sell a stand-alone data warehouse. (It currently offers its data warehouse as part of the NetWeaver BI integration stack.) But we have a hard time seeing SAP reaching for Teradata, which sports a $2.9bn market capitalization.

Typically, SAP doesn’t make consolidation plays like Teradata. (That’s the role of Oracle, which is likely to be less interested in Teradata since recently rolling out its high-end data-warehouse offering, HP Oracle Database Machine, which is its answer to the massively parallel-based warehouses offered by Teradata and others.) Instead, SAP generally favors small technology purchases, and one startup that we think would fit SAP pretty well is Greenplum. SAP thought well enough of Greenplum to put some money into its series C earlier this year.

However, SAP might find itself in competition for Greenplum with the startup’s other strategic investor, Sun. Greenplum has a data warehouse appliance for Sun servers. There’s also the alumni connection: Greenplum CEO Bill Cook worked for 19 years at Sun before running the startup. That said, Greenplum is not the only data-warehouse vendor Sun has invested in, having taken a minority investment in Infobright’s series C last month.

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