Sage sells ACT and SalesLogix CRM to Swiftpage

As part of a move away from non-core activities, accounts specialist Sage has disposed of two of its CRM products.
Written by Toby Wolpe, Contributor

Accounting software firm Sage is selling its Sage ACT and SalesLogix CRM businesses to email marketing company Swiftpage as part of a strategy of rationalisation of its software portfolio.

Sage CEO Guy Berruyer said the disposal of the products was part of its plan to focus on growth areas of the business.

"The sale of these non-core products is consistent with our strategy of focusing our business to accelerate growth and demonstrates significant progress in streamlining the portfolio, allowing regional management to focus on the considerable growth opportunities within their core markets," Berruyer said in a statement on Friday.

Sage said it had received an aggregate figure of $101.2m for the sales to various companies of seven of its products, of which ACT and SalesLogix form part.

ACT and SalesLogix were acquired by Sage when it bought Interact Commerce for $260m in 2001.


PAC UK principal software analyst Philip Carnelley said Sage had halved the value of those products — or worse — in the 11 or so years since their acquisition and that was without counting inflation. "You wouldn't call that a spectacular success," he said.

Carnelley said Sage had announced an evaluation of the whole portfolio a few months ago, in which the company's core functions were identified as accounting and payroll.

"They were going through this massive portfolio that they've got, to decide what they're going to invest in... and what to get rid of" — Philip Carnelley, PAC UK

"They were going through this massive portfolio that they've got, to decide what they're going to invest in, what to run effectively as a mature business line, and what to get rid of," he said.

"They didn't include CRM in this list of things that were core. They obviously decided that CRM is something they're not very good at or compete in very effectively," Carnelley said.

"When they bought ACT, everybody had a copy on their PC but it never really survived the transition to online products," he added.

"You've got things like Microsoft Dynamics CRM, you've obviously got Salesforce.com and a whole raft of cheap and cheerful things all running in the cloud, and ACT is looking very long in the tooth.

"Basically, they've said 'that's not for us anymore. We're going to stick to our knitting'."

Carnelley said he thought users of the former Sage software should not lose out. "In some ways it's nice that they've given [the products] over to a specialist who will nurture and develop [the software]," he said.

Swiftpage said the acquisition represents an expansion of its operations and it is acquiring the people and assets in these two business units globally so it has a structure in place already supporting international customers.

About 250 people from the two businesses would be moving over to Swiftpage as part of this acquisition.

Sage said it was also selling its Sage Nonprofit Solutions product suite, which is also managed from North America.

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