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Sage is to regroup its far-flung collection of US software companies under a single brand. No, it's not Sage - another firm owns the rights to that name in the US.

The accountancy/small biz software specialist now wants to be known as Best Software in the US, a territory now responsible for more than half group sales. At the same time, Sage is to re-organise US operations under a single management structure. This will present quite a challenge - the group has established its US presence on the back of several local acquisitions. The new structure will make it easier to purse more acquisitions in the US, the company says.

A unified US brand and management team will help the company go some way to countering the threat of Microsoft, the software giant which has alighted on apps for the small and medium business market - Sage's heartland - as a potential big money-spinner. So far Microsoft has lost money in this sector, but it is showing that it is deadly serious with acquisitions of accountancy software houses Navision and Great Plains Software. Microsoft has its own reorganising to do on this score, but it will emerge as a formidable competitor.

Even now, whenever Microsoft makes a move in this sector, Sage's share price seems to fall. And this is getting up the UK group's nose.

Speaking at the Boston launch of Best, Paul Walker, chief executive, said the US rebrand is "one way aims to deal with the amount of noise that Microsoft gets in the market place, which is a bit of a nonsense really because if you look at revenues compared to Great Plains, we are one of the biggest players in the market," the FT reports. ®

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