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Lawson Software is buying Closedloop Solutions, which develops budgeting and planning software for managing financial performance, for around $4 million.

Lawson says that the acquisition will bolster its performance management suite's capabilities. In buying Closedloop, the company is continuing the emerging trend of tier-two ERP providers buying performance management companies.

Lawson officials say Closedloop Solutions software will broaden its current Enterprise Performance Management (PM) suite, which is built around a technology partnership with Hyperion Solutions.

Lawson is to rebrand Closedloop's applications as Lawson Budgeting and Planning and expects to release an integrated suite offering between December and February.

Hyperion has issued a statement saying that its OEM partnership with Lawson, which has been in place since 1996, will remain unchanged following the acquisition.
Hyperion offers its own comprehensive PM suite, and Closedloop Solutions offers some capabilities that compete directly with Hyperion's own Planning product, which Lawson resells. However, Hyperion says that license revenues derived from Lawson's OEM sales of Planning, as well as its Essbase OLAP engine, were not material to the company in fiscal 2003.

The deal is expected to close within ten days and Lawson has reassured existing Closedloop customers that it will continue support for its software products.

Last week, Lawson also said it was buying San Francisco-based Apexion Technologies, a privately held provider of software to help healthcare institutions track medical equipment, for $8 million. Lawson also recently bought Numbercraft, a UK-based retail software maker for an undisclosed sum.

Lawson's move is not dissimilar to Geac Computer's acquisition of business intelligence (BI) stalwart Comshare this June to kick start its own PM solutions. However, Lawson paid substantially less than the $52 million that Geac forked out.

Hyperion Solutions, along with Cognos and SAS Institute are generally regarded as the leading players in the PM market. Larger ERP providers, such
as SAP and PeopleSoft, also offer their own PM solutions - which are mostly the result of internal development efforts. But they appear to be less likely to acquire than tier-two ERP vendors. The market can expect a further shake-out as smaller specialist PM vendors, such as OutlookSoft, Longview Solutions, SRC Software and Cartesis continue to catch the eye.

Source: Computerwire/Datamonitor

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