PeopleSoft deal catches JDE unawares

US executives of ERP software company JD Edwards succeeded in keeping New Zealand staff in the dark about plans for the company's sale to PeopleSoft.

The 55 New Zealand staff – including boss John Speed – of ERP software vendor JD Edwards were in the dark when the sale of the company to rival PeopleSoft was announced on Monday.

“It was news to the company, except at executive level,” says Speed.

He sees it as positive, saying it will propel JDE from being “the smallest player in the top tier to being number two in the world” in the ERP market.

JDE is the bigger of the two companies in the New Zealand market, according to analyst IDC, which estimates JDE's annual sales at $17 million, compared with PeopleSoft’s $14 million. JDE’s headcount, at 55, is also higher than PeopleSoft’s.

According to Speed, the two occasionally compete, and the score is even from recent bids in which they were up against each other.

JDE tends to focus on the industrial and manufacturing markets, whereas PeopleSoft’s customer list includes educational institutions and services organisations such as NZ Post and Air New Zealand.

PeopleSoft New Zealand sales manager Andy Batchelor wouldn’t comment on whether the deal took him by surprise, but is positive, saying the two companies are complementary.

The $US1.7 billion stock deal has to be approved by regulators and is expected to be closed late in the third quarter or early in the fourth.

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