Vantive is circling the wagons to protect its stockholders
against a hostile takeover.
The Santa Clara, California, maker of
sales force and marketing management applications announced today it is
putting into effect a stockholders protection plan that will ensure
shareholders get their money's worth should there be a hostile takeover.
"The adoption of the plan is intended as a means to guard against any
potential use of takeover tactics designed to gain control of Vantive
without paying all stockholders full and fair value," said Vantive
executives in a prepared statement. "The distribution of the rights is not
in response to any proposal to acquire Vantive. The board is not aware of
any such effort."
But what the board is aware of is that the front
office software market is ripe for takeovers, and Vantive is one of the
ripest fruits on the vine. Vantive was trading at about $8 a share today,
down from a year-high of $39.75.
"It's going to be tough for these [front office vendors]," said Steve
Bonadio, analyst at the Hurwitz Group in Framingham, Massachusetts. "Look
at [supply chain software vendors] Manugistics and I2 as the model
for the front office guys. It's not a very bright future for them."
I2 and Manugistics are both struggling to
fight off the ERP encroachment into their territory. Both have suffered
sales slumps as a result of SAP and the others taking on their markets. In
fact, Manugistics recently announced it was laying off people in an effort to
recover from a $8.2 million loss.
And analysts say both the supply chain and front office markets are due for
consolidation as companies look
for ways to compete by getting bigger and expanding their product offerings.
For the front office vendors, the acquisitions have already begun. ERP
leader SAP bought European firm Kiefer & Veittinger to stretch into the front office. And Baan last year bought one of Vantive's leading
competitors Aurum Software.
The customer service, sales force, and marketing management on one end and
supply chain management on the other are the two new battlegrounds for ERP
vendors looking to expand their stretch in corporate computing environments.
PeopleSoft was rumored to have its
eyes on Vantive but has since backed off its close alliance with the firm
by expanding its front office
partnership include Vantive arch rival Siebel Systems.
Under Vantive's protection plan, stockholders will receive one right to
purchase one one-thousandth of a share of a new series of preferred stock
for each outstanding share of Vantive common stock held as of the close of
business on December 15.
The rights are to initially trade with the common stock and become
exercisable to purchase the portion of the preferred stock, at $75 per
right, when "someone acquires 15 percent or more of Vantive's stock or
announces a tender offer which could result in that person owning 15
percent of the company's common stock."
The rights expire in 10 years.