German software giant SAP has agreed to buy US expenses software maker Concur for $7.3bn (€5.68bn) in cash, strengthening its position in cloud computing but sending its shares down almost 3pc on concern over the price.
SAP has been slow to embrace cloud computing, which allows businesses to cut costs by ditching bulky servers for network-based systems, but the Concur deal accelerates its growth in the cloud while protecting its position in travel and expenses management.
The German business software company offered a 20pc premium to the share price.
SAP, which competes in cloud computing with global rivals including Oracle, IBM and Salesforce, will finance the Concur deal with a €7bn loan.
The company had seen the cloud phenomenon as threatening its core business model, but it began a series of acquisitions with the $3.4bn purchase of SuccessFactors in 2011 after Oracle embarked on its own belated cloud-buying spree.
With the acquisition of Concur, SAP will increase its cloud users to 50 million from 38 million at present.
Concur has 23,000 clients, including companies, governments and universities with a total of more than 25 million users of its travel and expense-management software.
About a third of Concur users run SAP software and SAP expects to add Concur customers.