The Sage Group plc, commonly known as Sage, is a British multinational enterprise software company headquartered in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. It is the world's third-largest supplier of enterprise resource planning software (behind Oracle and SAP), the largest supplier to small businesses, and has 6.1 million customers worldwide. It has offices in 24 countries. The company is the patron of The Sage Gateshead music venue in Gateshead.
1981 to 2000
A student at Newcastle University, Graham Wylie, took a summer job with an accountancy firm funded by a government small business grant to write software to help their record keeping. This became the basis for Sage Line 50. Next, hired by David Goldman to write some estimating software for his printing company, Campbell Graphics, Graham used the same accounting software to produce the first version of Sage Accounts. David was so impressed that he hired Graham and academic Paul Muller to form Sage, selling their software first to printing companies, and then to a wider market through a network of resellers.
In 1984 the Company launched Sage software, a product for the Amstrad PCW word processor, which used the CP/M operating system. Sage software sales escalated in that year from 30 copies a month to over 300. The Company was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1989.
In 1994 Paul Walker was appointed Chief Executive. In 1998 Sage's Professional Accountants Division was established. In 1999 Sage entered FTSE 100 and launched a dedicated Irish division, based in Dublin as well as its e-business strategy. In that same year the UK acquisition of Tetra saw Sage enter the mid-range business software market.
2000 to 2010
In 2000 Sage shares were named 'best performing share of the 90s' in the UK business press. In 2001 Sage acquired Interact Commerce Inc. and entered the CRM/contact management market and in 2002 Sage won 'Business of The Year' in National Business Awards. Also that year Sage sponsored the new Music Centre in Gateshead for £6m - now known as The Sage Gateshead - the largest ever UK arts/business sponsorship. Sage are one of two technology stocks listed on the FTSE 100 Index. In 2003 at age 43 Graham Wylie retired with 108.5 million shares in Sage worth £146m. He was rated Britain's 109th richest person in the 2002 Sunday Times' rich list.
Tony Hobson joined the Sage board of directors in June 2004 and became chairman in May 2007.
2010 to present
On 19 April 2010, Sage announced that its CEO, Paul Walker, had indicated an interest in stepping down from his position, which he had held for 16 years. The Financial Times reported that his departure would lead to speculation over Sage's mergers and acquisitions, which have been a key component to the group's growth in the past 20 years. In an interview with The Times, the CEO of Sage's UK business stated that: "Acquisitions are part of our DNA".
Walker was one of the longest serving CEOs of a FTSE100 company, only exceeded by Sir Martin Sorrell at WPP and Tullow Oil's Aidan Heavey. According to the Daily Mail, Walker is likely to have left Sage with as much as £21 million given his shares, bonus plan and salary. Walker left the company on 1 December 2010.
On 15 February 2013, Sage announced that Accel-KKR intended to buy Sage Nonprofit Solutions, the division of Sage that produces software designed for nonprofit organisations and governmental agencies.
In August 2014, Sage announced that Guy Berruyer was to retire; Stephen Kelly, the UK government’s former chief operating officer, became Group CEO in November 2014.
Founded and headquartered in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, the company initially grew organically, but more recently has grown primarily through acquisitions. In 2004 the company's new headquarters was completed in the Great Park area of Newcastle upon Tyne; the company was previously located at Benton Park House. It now operates worldwide. The company's US headquarters are in Atlanta, Georgia, the Canadian headquarters are in Richmond, British Columbia, the Africa, Middle East & Australia headquarters are in Johannesburg, South Africa and the French and Continental European headquarters are in Paris, France. Sage has 6.1 million customers and 13,400 employees across the world. Key industry focus includes: Healthcare; HR & Payroll; Construction/ Real-Estate; Transport/ Distribution; Payment Processing; Accountancy; Not-for-Profit; Manufacturing; Retail; Automotive Distribution.
Financial results are as follows:
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