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German business software titan SAP has agreed to acquire Sunnyvale, Calif.-based e-commerce business Ariba for an astounding $4.3 billion, the company announced today.

SAP will pay $45 per share for Ariba, a nearly 20 percent premium over its May 21 closing price. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2012.

Many businesses (including SAP competitors) use Ariba’s cloud-based marketplace for goods and services to run everyday operations, which will make even more business depend on SAP solutions. The deal will also give SAP more leverage in the cloud space, following its huge $3.4 billion acquisition of human capital management player SuccessFactors this past December.

“The cloud has profoundly changed the way people interact,” said SAP Co-CEOs Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe, in a statement. “The impact will be even greater as enterprises connect and collaborate in new ways with their global networks of customers and partners. Cloud-based collaboration is redefining business network innovation, and we are catching this wave in the early stage of its evolution. The addition of Ariba will create the business network of the future, deliver immediate value to our customers and provide another solid engine for driving SAP’s growth in the cloud.”

Photo credit: Andy Dean Photography/Shutterstock

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