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5460 MILES FROM SILICON VALLEY The In-depth Case Study of What became Microsoft's First Billion Dollar Acquisition outside the USA.

A Nordic Business Biography by Hans Peter Bech

In May 2002, Microsoft acquired Navision, a Danish provider of ERP software for the midmarket. With the price tag of USD 1.45 billion, it was Microsoft’s biggest acquisition to date.

5,460 Miles from Silicon Valley is a book primarily about Damgaard Data, a company set up in 1984 by two brothers; 23-year-old Erik and 21-year-old Preben Damgaard. Less than eight years later, the company had an annual turnover of USD 12.5 million and employed 100 people.

In 1994, with the objective of bringing the company’s products onto the global market, IBM bought into Damgaard Data. This turned out to be a troublesome collaboration and, in 1998, Erik and Preben bought out IBM’s share of the business.

In October 1999, Damgaard Data was listed on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange and within three weeks, its value soared to nearly USD 1 billion. Unfortunately, the excitement was short lived. Only a few months later, at the beginning of December, a sudden drop in revenue sent the share price plummeting.

The company’s principal competitor, Navision Software, soon suffered a similar fate and the two companies decided to merge under the name Navision. The goal was to re-establish market trust by once again producing impressive growth and earning rates.

The strategy worked and in 2001 Microsoft called. The negotiations failed due to resistance from Bill Gates and the events of 9/11. But in 2002 the deal was signed with a cash payment of 1.45 billion dollars.

The book, more than 500 pages long, is a detailed account of the history of Damgaard Data and Navision Software. Based on more than 200 hours of interviews as well as research into more than 1,000 internal and external sources, it is an in-depth analysis of the grit, perseverance and more-than-a-little good luck necessary for entrepreneurial success.

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