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“A” Is for August and Acquisitions

August is turning out to be a month of acquisitions, whether it’s deals closing, deals in progress, or deals being announced.

Not long after Avnet announced it had outbid Switzerland’s Daetwyler Holding AG to purchase Premier Farnell Plc for $911 million late last month, Walmart announced it would be paying more than $3 billion in cash and stock for Jet.com to up its e-commerce game to compete with Amazon, while other deals affecting supply chain players have also been struck. The semiconductor business has also been busy on the mergers and acquisition front.

Yesterday, Plex Systems, a provider of cloud enterprise resource planning (ERP) for manufacturing, announced it had acquired cloud-based supply chain planning solution provider DemandCaster as a means to provide comprehensive suite of cloud applications for running manufacturing enterprises, including ERP, supply chain planning (SCP) and manufacturing execution (MES), the company said in a statement.

By acquiring DemandCaster, Plex said it is able to link the manufacturing shop floor directly to both supply chain and enterprise resource planning, as well as suppliers and customers, and provide integration with equipment, suppliers, customers, and third-party systems, including both legacy and cloud ERP solutions.

The merger will likely be a smooth one, as Plex has partnered with DemandCaster for more than a year, with multiple large, complex organizations selecting the two companies’ fully integrated solutions. DemandCaster pioneered cloud-based supply chain planning with a focus on solutions that can scale up to support mid-sized manufacturers and global enterprises and allowing them to leverage lean manufacturing processes.

While Plex is expanding its cloud supply chain offerings, Panasonic is looking to capitalize on the growing automotive market with the acquisition OpenSynergy GmbH, announcing yesterday that it had acquired all outstanding shares of the German software company to make it a subsidiary on July 22. OpenSynergy specializes in embedded automotive software for cockpit solutions, and also provides other software such as Bluetooth stack to automakers and Tier 1 suppliers. It will continue to operate the business as an independent company just as before under the new ownership.

In a news release, Panasonic said it sees its automotive business as a high growth area. OpenSynergy’s software technologies enable multiple different operating systems to be integrated into one system. These technologies make it possible to realize a next-generation cockpit system where multimedia and driver support functions are integrated, rather than be controlled by two different systems – multimedia functions such as navigation and audio, and driver support functions such as warning signals on head-up display.

Last month, STMicroelectronics NV announced it had acquired NFC, the RFID reader business from AMS AG for a sum of $77.8 million plus an additional sum based on how the business performs in future, while the most talked about acquisition was probably Softbank’s premium purchase of ARM.

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