Rumors have surfaced in the German press that private equity firm Silver Lake Partners is trying to buy into SAP AG by acquiring the stake of one of the original founding partners.
No sources were cited and the speculation was dismissed by analysts at UBS who noted that although the founders have little day-to-day involvement in the company, they are closely tied in at an emotional level. Referencing the aborted Microsoft talks of a few years ago, UBS also pointed out that any deal would carry a lot of conditions from SAP’s founders. The conclusion is that a SAP founder is unlikely to sell to a financial buyer.
Three of the original five founders remain on the supervisory board, and between them, their trusts, and holding companies, they own about 32% of the SAP share base.
Silver Lake describes itself as focusing solely on investments in technology companies operating at scale, and its portfolio includes Avago, Flextronics, Gartner, IPC, Nasdaq, Network General, NXP, Seagate, Serena, SunGard, Thomson, and UGS. As such, it is easy to see why it would be interested in SAP because of its large, established, stable, and profitable company status.