Q&A: Navision Executives See Global Solutions, Innovation Stemming from Acquisition by Microsoft

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, July 11, 2002 — Microsoft is today finalizing its acquisition of Navision, a Denmark-based company that is a leading provider of applications for small and medium-sized businesses worldwide. Navision has more than 1,300 team members worldwide, subsidiaries or distribution centers in more than 30 countries and approximately 2,400 partners, which it calls Navision Solution Centers (NSCs). The company has sold more than 136,000 solutions to date. Microsoft expects to purchase the shares of Navision for approximately US$1.45 billion (EUR1.48 billion, DKK10.97 billion) in stock and cash.

As a result of the acquisition, originally announced on May 7, 2002, Navision will become part of Microsoft Business Solutions.

The main Navision product lines consist of Navision Axapta and Navision Attain (previously known as Navision Financials). Both products offer functionalities across the Customer Relationship Management, Enterprise Resource Management, Supply Chain Management, and Reporting and Analytics application categories. Navision also markets the product lines Navision XAL and Navision C5 (the later in Denmark only).

Navision’s two CEO’s, Jesper Balser and Preben Damgaard, recently spoke with PressPass about becoming a part of Microsoft, about the future of solutions that enable an interconnected marketplace for small- and medium-sized businesses, and about the challenges and rewards of blending two companies with two distinctive and unique cultures.

Balser and Damgaard will remain within Microsoft Business Solutions. Balser will be director of Global Strategy, and Damgaard will be director of Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) Operations. The EMEA operations will be based out of Navision’s corporate headquarters in Vedbaek, Denmark.

PressPass: How does it feel to be a part of Microsoft?

Damgaard: It feels great. The acquisition went very smoothly, and I’m pleased to say that our team members are ready to rise to the challenge of taking technology for small and medium businesses to new heights. Microsoft is one of those rare companies whose spirit of innovation has really changed the face of modern life by enhancing the way people work and live. We are thrilled to be playing such a pivotal role in developing the next generation of business applications, which is a key area of growth for Microsoft overall. It’s difficult to not be excited and inspired by the opportunities that lie ahead for everyone involved.

PressPass: What attracted Microsoft and Navision to one another?

Balser: The two companies are an excellent fit. Both companies share a vision of global leadership in business applications for small and mid-market customers, built upon innovation, unwavering customer support, and a world-class partner network. Both companies are committed to working hard in order to realize their vision of interconnected solutions for small- to medium-size businesses. Also, both companies are committed to the Microsoft .NET strategy and vision. For Navision, it’s a golden opportunity to sign on for the future. Finally, both companies are committed to delivering superior solutions and to really advancing technology above and beyond what’s considered the limit.

PressPass: While there are plenty of things the two companies have in common, what are some of the major differences between Microsoft and Navision?

Balser: Two of the more obvious differences are size and location. Microsoft has more than 50,000 employees while Navision, at the time of the acquisition, has slightly more than 1,300 team members. Microsoft is headquartered in the U.S., while Navision’s home base is Denmark. Microsoft is one of the world’s most recognizable brands. While Navision is definitely global, with partners selling and supporting products in around 100 countries worldwide, its strongholds are Scandinavia, Central Europe, Spain, the United Kingdom and the U.S.

PressPass: How do you expect the joining of Microsoft and Navision to play on the European stage?

Damgaard: I think it’s a very positive move, and I believe it is perceived that way in Europe. Both Microsoft and Navision are very well-respected brands in Europe, and combining the best of both companies to offer superior products and services is definitely something that is widely appreciated. As we move beyond the acquisition and begin to truly merge into one business, I am confident that the enhanced applications we’re able to offer will definitely mark this as a highly strategic decision.

PressPass: Both Microsoft Business Solutions and Navision are well-known and respected for their partner channels. How will the two joining impact that?

Balser: The joining of the two companies is definitely advantageous for the partner channels of both companies. Our partners will have an unprecedented opportunity to deliver additional products and solutions to small- and mid-market customers. Partners previously affiliated with Navision will have the ability to build greater scale into their applications, while those previously affiliated with Microsoft Business Solutions will benefit from an enhanced ability to grow the business application market faster through enhanced geographic and product expansion.

PressPass: And what about for Navision’s customers?

Damgaard: Simply put, more choices. It means customers will enjoy a broader range of choices and more resources from which to choose. Both companies are completely committed to continuing to strengthen, broaden and enhance the technologies that customers of both Navision and Microsoft have come to rely on over the years. Also, existing Navision customers — whose current technology investments are secure and will continue to be supported — can draw from an expanded pool of resources when it comes to tools, products, services and support. Both companies are and will continue to be completely committed to the success of our customers — it’s why we do what we do.

PressPass: How does the acquisition affect Navision’s technology offerings?

Balser: We will continue to strive to deliver the best business applications to the small and medium marketplace. I am confident that by working hand-in-hand with Microsoft our offerings will continue to improve, only at a more rapid rate. The research and development and marketing resources at Microsoft are second-to-none. Our products and services will definitely benefit from that. With the advent of .NET, I fully expect our technology to change and evolve. By joining Microsoft, we’ve significantly speeded up our ability to deliver on the promise of Microsoft .NET on a global scale.

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