SAP founder's charity foundation withdraws from joint venture with software giant

Questions all got a bit too much, although nothing legally wrong with the holding


The charity set up by Hasso Plattner, co-founder and formerly long-serving CEO of SAP, has decided it no longer wishes to invest in a joint venture set up by the German ERP giant.

News that the Hasso Plattner Foundation (HPF) was investing in the JV between SAP and Dediq, designed to develop technologies for the financial services market, attracted headlines in May, largely because the investment was not disclosed when the venture was created.

Although there was no legal requirement to make the disclosure, the Foundation, which "directly and exclusively pursues charitable purposes" according to its website, has now thought better of the investment.

Responding to questions from The Register, an HPF spokesman said it had decided to find a replacement investor in the JV, now dubbed Fioneer. He said the foundation would remain invested and fulfil all obligations in the meantime.

According to a statement given to the Financial Times, the HPF said it had decided to divest after consulting Plattner himself.

"The doubts raised, and accusations made... are misinterpreting and misrepresenting our motivation, interests and objectives. We recognise, however, that what is legally correct may not always be legitimate in the eyes of all stakeholders," the spokesman said.

Also according to the pink British newspaper, SAP has decided it would no longer co-invest in any deals in which the charitable foundation has also invested.

SAP has been contacted for comment.

In April, the German software firm announced that it was forming the JV with Dediq. At the time it said the partnership would create "solutions… based on SAP software… integrated into SAP's overall portfolio and product roadmap."

"Both SAP and Dediq will provide ... funding, technology, and development expertise, as well as a broad ecosystem of partners necessary to rapidly establish it as a major force in the FSI IT market," the statement said at the time.

Dediq's investment in the unit was expected to be more than €500m while SAP would hold a 20 per cent stake. German news site Handelsblatt first disclosed the investment by the HPF in the JV, which was not disclosed at the time it was announced.

Plattner's private fortune of around $9bn helped establish the Hasso Plattner Foundation, while the SAP creator remains the software firm's biggest shareholder: with a 6 per cent stake in the $170bn market cap enterprise software company. ®

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