Sage Group

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The Sage Group plc
Public limited company
Traded as
ISINGB00B8C3BL03 Edit this on Wikidata
Founded1981; 39 years ago (1981)
HeadquartersNewcastle upon Tyne, England, United Kingdom
Number of locations
Offices in 24 countries
Area served
Key people
RevenueIncrease £ 1,857 million (2018)[1]
Increase £ 504 million (2018)[1]
Decrease £ 295 million (2018)[1]
Total assetsIncrease £ 3,317 million (2018)[1]
Total equityIncrease £ 1,327 million (2018)[1]
Number of employees
13,660 (2018)[1]

The Sage Group plc, commonly known as Sage, is a British multinational enterprise software company based in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. As of 2017, it is the UK's second largest technology company,[2] 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.[3] It has offices in 24 countries.[4] The company is the patron of the Sage Gateshead music venue in Gateshead.[5]

Sage is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.


1981 to 2000[edit]

The Company was founded by David Goldman, Paul Muller and Graham Wylie in 1981 in Newcastle, to develop estimating and accounting software for small businesses.[6]

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.[7]

In 1984 the Company launched Sage software, a product for the Amstrad PCW word processor,[6] which used the CP/M operating system. Sage software sales escalated in that year from 30 copies a month to over 300.[6] The Company was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1989.[6]

In 1994 Paul Walker was appointed Chief Executive. In 1998 Sage's Professional Accountants Division was established. In 1999 Sage entered FTSE 100[6] 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.[8][9]

2000 to 2010[edit]

The Sage Gateshead music venue, located on the banks of the River Tyne, is named after the company.

In 2000 Sage shares were named 'best performing share of the 90s' in the UK business press.[10] In 2001 Sage acquired Interact Commerce Inc.[11] and entered the CRM/contact management market and in 2002 Sage won 'Business of The Year' in the National Business Awards.[12] Also that year Sage sponsored the new Music Centre in Gateshead for £6m – now known as Sage Gateshead – the largest ever UK arts/business sponsorship.[13] Sage are one of two technology stocks listed on the FTSE 100 Index,[14] the other being Micro Focus.[15] 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.[7]

Tony Hobson joined the Sage board of directors in June 2004 and became chairman in May 2007.[16]

2010 to present[edit]

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.[17] 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".[18]

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.[19] 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.[20] Walker left the company on 1 December 2010.[21]

On 1 October 2010 Guy Berruyer became CEO of Sage Group; Berruyer had previously been CEO of Sage's Mainland Europe & Asia operations.[21]

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.[22]

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.[23] In September 2014 the company announced the acquisition of PayChoice for $157 million.[24]

In March 2017, Sage Group announced an agreement to acquire Compass, an analytics and benchmarking platform. The acquisition of the Compass’ platform and team aimed to provide Sage's customers with high quality analytics using big data.[25]

In March 2017, Sage Group also announced an agreement to acquire Fairsail, a Human Capital Management (HCM) cloud based platform, that addresses workforce management challenges of mid-sized organizations and meets the needs of increasingly mobile and global companies.[26]

In July 2017, Sage announced that it would purchase Intacct for $850M.[27]

On 31 August 2018, Sage announced that the Board and Stephen Kelly had come to an agreement and that Kelly had stepped down as a director and CEO.[28] On 2 November 2018 Steve Hare was appointed CEO.[29] Hare had been Chief Financial Officer of Sage since 2014 and had been interim COO following the departure of the previous CEO.[28][30]

On 1 July 2019, it was announced that Sage would be leaving its headquarters in Newcastle Great Park and relocating in Cobalt Business Park.[31]


Founded and headquartered in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, the company has grown organically, through acquisitions and, more recently, through subscription services.[32]

In June 1991 Sage Group moved into their first dedicated headquarters building, Sage House, in Benton, Newcastle upon Tyne, having previously been located in the Regent Centre office park.[33] In 2004 the company's new £50 million headquarters was completed in the Great Park area of Newcastle upon Tyne.[34]

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.[35]

Financial information[edit]

Sage's former logo used from 1996 until 2015.

Financial results are as follows:[36]

Sept year-end, £ millions 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Revenue 552 560 688 760 936 1,158 1,295 1,439 1,435 1,334 1,340 1,376 1,307 1,436 1,569 1,715 1,857
Reported growth n/a n/a n/a n/a +12% +30% +7% +11% 0% +4% 0% +3% -5% +10% +9% +19% +8%
Underlying growth n/a n/a n/a n/a +7% +7% +3% -4% -1% +4% +2% +4% +5% +6% +12% +7% +7%
EBITA n/a n/a n/a 202 249 283 300 321 365 365 366 180 360 360 427 348 427
Pre-Tax Profit 129 151 181 194 221 223 241 267 319 331 334 164 278 276 275 342 398


The company's core product set can be divided into three areas: Accounting, Payroll & Human Capital Management and Payments.[37] In 2018 Sage's global cloud products were renamed and brought under the banner of the Sage Business Cloud; these include Accounting (formerly Sage One), Payroll, Sage Intacct, Sage X3, People and Payments.[38]

As Sage operates in a large number of countries the available product set varies and typically includes products specifically tailored for each region's nuanced legislation regarding accounting, payroll and taxation. Sage's more regional product ranges include Sage 50cloud (Accounting and Payroll), Sage 100, Sage 200cloud, Sage 300, Sage 1000 and Sage CRM.[39]


A Marussia F1 promotional car on display in Sage's Newcastle headquarters.

The Sage Group is a patron of The Sage Gateshead, a Tyneside music venue designed by Sir Norman Foster. The Sage Gateshead was completed in 2004 at a cost of £70 million, and has since become a main sight on the River Tyne. It is primarily used as a concert venue and centre for musical education, but also hosts other events including conferences.[13]

In 2008 Sage funded the revival of The Krypton Factor television series for ITV as a part of the Business Brain Training campaign.[40] Sage were the football shirt sponsor in May 2011 for Whitley Bay F.C.'s FA Vase winning match.[41]

For the 2012 Formula One season Sage were an official supplier for the Marussia F1 team, and for the 2013 and 2014 seasons Sage logos were placed on the car.[42]

Sage have sponsored the Invictus Games since 2016.[43] Sage also sponsored the 2019 editions of the Reading Half Marathon and the Blaydon Race.[44][45]

For the 2017–18 Bristol City F.C. season Sage has partnered with Bristol City F.C. as minor sponsor through their provision of Sage X3 for Bristol Sport.[46][47]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Annual Report 2018". Sage Group. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  2. ^ Ram, Aliya (22 November 2017). "Sage posts 7% revenue growth after switching customers to cloud". Financial Times. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  3. ^ "Competitive Profile". The Sage Group plc. Archived from the original on 1 November 2007. Retrieved 3 September 2010.
  4. ^ "Sage Investor Relations Website". Retrieved 18 March 2013.
  5. ^ "Arts funding in recession". Incorporated Society of Musicians. Retrieved 3 September 2010.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ a b c d e "History". Sage. Retrieved 30 October 2010.
  7. ^ a b Vaughan-Adams, Liz (12 April 2003). "Sage founder retires at 43 to get married and enjoy his £146m fortune". The Independent on Sunday. London. Retrieved 15 March 2009.
  8. ^ "Sage buys Tetra". London: The Independent. 2 March 1999. Retrieved 30 October 2010.
  9. ^ "Accounting for Sage's move on Tetra". The Register. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  10. ^ "Sage looks risky in an uncertain business climate".[dead link]
  11. ^ Greenman, Catherine (29 March 2001). "Technology Briefing: Software; Sage Buys Interact Commerce" – via
  12. ^ "Business of the year 2002". Red Hot Curry. 29 October 2002. Archived from the original on 4 April 2004. Retrieved 3 November 2010.
  13. ^ a b "Software sages of Newcastle". Global Technology Forum. 23 April 2007. Retrieved 3 November 2010.
  14. ^ "FTSE 100 Fact sheet". FTSE. 31 March 2015. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  15. ^ Titcomb, James (1 September 2017). "Micro Focus becomes UK's biggest tech company as it completes £7bn HPE deal". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited. Retrieved 24 February 2018. At this value, Micro Focus will leapfrog Sage as the FTSE 100's biggest technology firm and into the UK's 50 most valuable public companies.
  16. ^ "Directors' Biographies". Sage Group plc. Archived from the original on 30 January 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2012.
  17. ^ "Walker to step down as Sage chief executive". Financial Times. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  18. ^ "Business big shot: Paul Stobart". London: The Times. 20 April 2010. Retrieved 3 November 2010.
  19. ^ "Sage CEO Paul Walker to stand down after 26 years at company". London: Daily Mail. 19 April 2010. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
  20. ^ Duke, Simon (19 April 2010). "Sage chief Paul Walker is set to exit with £21m". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
  21. ^ a b "Group Chief Executive". Sage Group plc. 6 July 2010. Archived from the original on 30 December 2010. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
  22. ^ "Sage Nonprofit Solutions To Be Acquired By Accel-KKR". TheNonProfitTimes. 15 February 2013. Archived from the original on 18 February 2013.
  23. ^ "New CEO at Sage Group takes up his post". The Journal. 5 November 2015. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  24. ^ "Sage buys PayChoice for $157.8 million, bolsters SMB base". 22 September 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  25. ^ "Sage announces agreement to acquire analytics and benchmarking platform". Sage Group. 31 March 2017. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  26. ^ "Sage announces agreement to acquire Fairsail". Sage Group. 3 March 2017. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  27. ^ "Sage Group buys Intacct accounting software for £850m". Tech Crunch. 25 July 2017. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  28. ^ a b "The Sage Group plc (the Group) announces today that the Board and Stephen Kelly, Chief Executive Officer, have come to an agreement and Stephen has stepped down as a director and CEO". Sage Group. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  29. ^ "Appointment of Group Chief Executive Officer". Sage Group plc. 2 November 2018. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  30. ^ "Appointment of Chief Financial Officer". Sage Group plc. 11 November 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  31. ^ Manning, Jonathon (1 July 2019). "Tech giant Sage to leave Great Park". nechronicle. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
  32. ^ "Sage boasts turnover growth as more clients turn to subscriptions". Chronicle Live. 17 January 2019. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  33. ^ Full group accounts made up to 30 September 1991, The Sage Group plc, 16 February 1992
  34. ^ "Sage's £50m move may blaze a trail for others". The Northern Echo. 26 June 2002. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  35. ^ "Company Profile -". Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  36. ^ "Sage Group - Investor Centre". The Sage Group plc. Retrieved 4 February 2018.
  37. ^ "Business Builders Annual Report and Accounts 2016". Sage Group plc. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
  38. ^ "Products". Sage. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  39. ^ "Sage CRM". Solutions for Accounting. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  40. ^ "The Krypton Factor". Business Brain Training. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  41. ^ "Whitley Bay FC win FA Vase for third time". The Journal. 9 May 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  42. ^ "Marussia F1 team ties up with Sage". India in F1. 27 January 2012.
  43. ^ "Sage announces multi-year partnership with Invictus Games". 14 April 2016. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  44. ^ "Sage doubles down on fundraising target". 18 March 2019. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  45. ^ "Sage Blaydon Race". Blaydon Race. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  46. ^ Gregor MacGregor (18 December 2017). "Lee Johnson salutes 'icon' Aden Flint and says Bristol City is right club for him". Bristol Post. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  47. ^ "Sage X3 and Percipient bolster Bristol Sport's growth". Percipient. 8 September 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2018.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°02′06″N 1°38′57″W / 55.03509°N 1.64904°W / 55.03509; -1.64904