TopTier President, CEO Shai Agassi to head new SAP subsidiary

TopTier, acquired last week by SAP for $400 million, will be the backbone of a new company, which will have a payroll of 700 and set up sophisticated personal portals.

SAP of Germany, the world’s third largest software firm, last week paid $400 million in cash for TopTier, which specializes in developing information portals for organizations. The deal, which comes during a difficult period for Israeli high tech, has made waves. It now seems that SAP’s plans for TopTier and its founder, Shai Agassi, are not confined to simply swallowing the company.

SAP today announced its intention of setting up a new subsidiary, named SAP Portals, to focus on the management and development of portals and business sector products, which will be based on TopTier’s technology. The company is planning to employ 700 people, who will be managed by TopTier president and CEO Agassi. The subsidiary will operate in California, with development centers in Germany and Ra’anana.

When TopTier was acquired, we predicted that SAP wanted to make optimal use of its technology, which fits in with SAP’s organizational portal and is essential for one of the software giant’s growth engines. SAP is actually basing its future growth on its mySAP Workplace portal platform, which yielded $580 million of revenue for SAP in the fourth quarter of 2000, 80% higher than in the corresponding quarter in 1999. The platform enables businesses around the world to make more effective use of all the applications on the network. The portal actually allows each user in the organization to receive only information that is essential to him from a number of different applications. This is where TopTier’s solution comes in.

TopTier, controlled by the Baan brothers through the Vanenburg Ventures fund, was acquired because of its solution to the problem of excess information in large organizations. TopTier’s solution is integrative; it combines a company’s internal databases with external ones on the same basic platform. With the help of this technology, every user in an organization can construct a sort of personal portal that will provide him with the information he needs.

SAP will now utilize TopTier’s capabilities and technology to compete in the global market for sophisticated portals, enabling everyone searching for information to feel more at home. Agassi, who holds 8.8% of TopTier, is scheduled to receive about $35 million in the deal.

Published by Israel's Business Arena on April 5, 2001

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