Elliot Management supports SAP’s cost cutting program

In Wednesday’s annual general meeting, SAP is expected to focus on its restructuring program that will mold it into a digital platform business.

On Wednesday, Bill McDermott, the CEO of German business software firm SAP told shareholders that it is considering a multi-year share buyback program.

In January 2019, SAP, Europe’s most valuable technology firm has completed its $8 billion takeover of Qualtrics, a U.S. company that tracks customer sentiment online.

“We will also take a disciplined approach to capital allocation, including evaluating a multi-year share repurchase program,” said McDermott to shareholders at SAP’s annual general meeting in Mannheim.

In 2017, SAP had bought back its shares worth $561 million (500 million euros).

In today’s AGM, SAP is likely to focus on its restructuring program, which it had announced in January; part of the measures included laying off 4,400 employees in order to reshape the company into a digital platform business.

The restructuring process has led to several high-profile departures of executives who had deep industry expertise, thus sparking concerns of a knowledge outflow.

In April, U.S. activist investor Elliott disclosed a stake of $1.2 billion in SAP saying it supported a management efficiency drive to expand adjusted operating margins by a total of 5 percentage points through 2023.

McDermott has indicated that there is no pressure from Elliott for retrenchment after a recent round of job cuts, and the activist investor, which purchased a stake of 1% in SAP, is not expected to speak at the shareholder meeting.

Incidentally, SAP’s co-founder Hasso Plattner, 75, is also seeking re-election as chairman at the meeting but only for three years instead of the usual five.

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Categories: Creativity, Entrepreneurship, HR & Organization, Strategy

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