Sage mulls Exact bid

Bulking up against MS

Sage is mulling over a £430m bid for Exact, a Dutch accountancy rival, according to the Independent on Sunday.

A deal woudl make sense: Exact will be the large major significant European rival, following the expected $1.2bn takeover of Denmark's Navision by Microsoft. Exact will enable Sage to bulk up against Microsoft's expected onslaught in this sector.

Sage is the dominant European player for small businesses, but it faces tougher competition in the mid-range market, with Systems Union, Exact and Navision all doing good business on its home UK turf.

Microsoft is gunning for the mid-rangemarket: it owns Great Plains Software in the US, and it plans to merge this business with Navision, according to reports. The mid-market accountancy software/ERP for beginners pitch is an obvious sector for Microsoft, which is struggling to find cash cows outside its key Office and desktop OS franchises. ®

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