SAP’s platinum payouts

-Contact: Brenon Daly

Even though SAP has historically been a reluctant buyer, it hasn’t hesitated to throw around big numbers as it has picked up its M&A pace over the past half-decade. The German giant announced its latest top-dollar acquisition on Tuesday, paying roughly $4.5bn for Ariba (on an equity value basis). The supplier relationship management vendor hasn’t traded that high in more than a decade, as the first Internet bubble was deflating.

The purchase of Ariba continues SAP’s practice of paying high prices to clear deals. For instance, its offer for SuccessFactors last December matched the highest level that company’s shares had ever hit, and likewise, when it erased Sybase in 2010, it did so at a high-water mark for that stock. (Incidentally, the collective bill for those three transactions, which have been done in just two years, is more than $14bn.)

In terms of valuation, Ariba basically splits the difference between SAP’s two recent big software deals. Based on SAP’s valuation of Ariba at $4.3bn, the German giant is paying 8.6 times the roughly $500m that Ariba generated over the trailing 12 months (TTM). In comparison, it valued SuccessFactors at 11.3x TTM revenue and Sybase at 4.8x TTM revenue. (The relative valuation of each of those vendors primarily reflects their growth rates: Sybase was growing at a single-digit percentage, while Ariba is clipping along at nearly 40% and SuccessFactors was topping 50%.)

Select SAP transactions

Date announced Target Deal value Enterprise value/TTM sales multiple Bid
May 22, 2012 Ariba $4.5bn 8.6x $45 per share, highest price in 11 years
December 3, 2011 SuccessFactors $3.6bn 11.7x $40 per share, matching highest-ever price
May 12, 2010 Sybase $6.1bn 4.8x $65 per share, highest-ever price

Source: The 451 M&A KnowledgeBase

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