Koch buys rest of Infor in deal valuing software maker at $11B

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Bloomberg—The private investment arm of Koch Industries, run by billionaire Charles Koch, has acquired the remaining equity in cloud-software maker Infor, the companies said.

The deal values Infor at $11 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified discussing private information.

Koch Industries, the Wichita, Kan.-based conglomerate, already owned about 70 percent of Infor, the company said. Its subsidiary Koch Equity Development purchased the remaining Infor equity it didn’t already own from Golden Gate Capital.

Infor, which Wall Street has viewed as a candidate for an upcoming initial public offering, will become a Koch Industries subsidiary.

The move to buy Infor underscores Koch Industries’ continued push into technology, a relatively new priority for a sprawling conglomerate best known for refineries, paper goods, and other industrial products—along with the libertarian and conservative views of its CEO and his brother David, who died last year.

In 2013, Koch Industries, which brings in $110 billion in annual revenue, bought electronics component maker Molex for $7.2 billion. And three years ago it launched a venture capital arm, Koch Disruptive Technologies, run by Charles’s son, Chase. That venture division has made investments in companies such as enterprise software startup D2iQ and 3D-printing company Desktop Metal.

“Investment in Infor is a great platform to continue in that space,” said Jim Hannan, the executive who runs the enterprises division of Koch Industries. A range of Koch businesses already use Infor’s tools, Hannan said, adding, “It doesn’t matter whether you’re making paper towels or fertilizer or anything else.”

Infor, a competitor to companies like Oracle Corp. and SAP SE with annual revenue of about $3.2 billion, makes software that is specialized by industry, including manufacturing, government, healthcare and retail. Its fastest-growing product is its software-as-a-service business, which allows customers to use software held remotely instead of maintaining it in their own data centers.

Koch Equity Development first took a $2 billion stake in Infor in 2017, and topped it up with another $1.5 billion a year ago. Infor had been considering an IPO, and according its chief executive officer, Kevin Samuelson, hasn’t ruled out that possibility for the future. But Samuelson said the acquisition route was more immediately appealing because of Koch Industries’ robust balance sheet, with its clout that could potentially enable Infor to make further acquisitions of its own.

Of the Koch Industries bid, Samuelson said, “Just the access to capital, the IT perspective, working with someone who started as a customer—this was the right outcome.”

Infor’s market share in enterprise software is about 6%, according to the research firm IDC, making it third after SAP and Oracle. Gartner, another researcher, placed both its 2018 market share and its growth rate at 5 percent. Infor said its software-as-a-service unit would be on track for about $800 million in annual revenue, if its last month’s revenue held steady for the following year. That unit is also growing at more than 20 percent annually, Samuelson said.

Infor, founded in 2002, has grown both organically and through acquisitions. It bought GT Nexus for $675 million in 2015.

Bloomberg News