The deal, finalised last week, effectively kills off the Multisoft brand with existing and imminent product lines to reside under the Sage banner.
Sagesoft channel director and former Multisoft general manager Richard Fisher said the move was the culmination of decisions made last year to follow an entirely indirect business model.
He said: 'Multisoft has, to all intents and purposes, disappeared. What we now have in IBIS is a very large reseller with about 1,000 customers which can continue to push the Prestige and Premier products as well as other Sage offerings.'
But some industry sources have suggested the sale was a cost-cutting exercise for Sage, since the Multisoft range was not competing in the market effectively. It was also vexed by the delayed release of the Line 200 accountancy package.
John Tate, managing director of accountancy software specialist Tate Bramald, said: 'Historically, Sage has not sold direct. But with the Multisoft range, resellers were having such a problem competing that they either stopped trading and sold back the user base or else went bust. So gradually a direct operation emerged.'
He continued: 'The latest Multisoft offering is horrendously late, and Sage is trying to distance itself from it, which is raising serious questions about its commitment to the higher end of the accountancy market.'
IBIS Systems is owned by the South African Softline Group, which paved the way for this latest acquisition with the purchase of Multisoft SA in May 1997.
Chief executive officer, Ivan Epstein, said of last week's deal: 'Multisoft Direct fits our acquisitional criteria well, providing a profitable business base and generating significant additional revenue from its client base, to whom licences, NT upgrades and year 2000 compliant enhancements will be sold.'
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