Sage Group

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

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

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

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.[17]

Walker was one of the longest serving CEOs of an FTSE100 company. Walker left the company on 1 December 2010.[18]

On 1 October 2010 Guy Berruyer became CEO of Sage Group; Berruyer had previously been CEO of Sage’s Mainland Europe & Asia operations.[18]

On 15 February 2013, Sage announced that Accel-KKR intended to buy Sage Nonprofit Solutions, its division that produced software designed for nonprofit organisations and governmental agencies.[19]

In August 2014, Sage announced that Guy Berruyer would retire. Stephen Kelly, the UK government’s former chief operating officer, became Group CEO in November 2014.[20] In September 2014 the company announced the acquisition of PayChoice for $157 million.[21]

In March 2017, Sage Group acquired Compass, an analytics and benchmarking platform.[22] In March 2017, Sage Group also acquired Fairsail, a Human Capital Management (HCM) cloud-based platform.[23] In July 2017, Sage purchased Intacct for $850M.[24]

On 31 August 2018, Sage announced that Stephen Kelly had stepped down as a director and CEO.[25] On 2 November 2018, Steve Hare was appointed CEO.[26] Hare had been Chief Financial Officer of Sage since 2014 and had been interim COO following the departure of the previous CEO.[26]

On 1 July 2019, it was announced that Sage would relocate from its headquarters in Newcastle Great Park to a new location in Cobalt Business Park.[27]

In March 2020, Sage announced that it is offloading its Brazil operations to the president of the local business, Jorge Carneiro, in a deal estimated to be valued at £1 million with an additional deferred consideration of up to £9 million.[28][29]


Founded and headquartered in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, the company has grown organically, through acquisitions and, more recently, through subscription services.[30]

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.[31] In 2004, the company’s new £50 million headquarters was completed in the Great Park area of Newcastle upon Tyne.[32]

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.[33]

Financial information

Sage’s former logo used from 1996 until 2015.


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.[35] Sage were the football shirt sponsor in May 2011 for Whitley Bay F.C.’s FA Vase winning match.[36]

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.[37]

Sage have sponsored the Invictus Games since 2016.[38] Sage also sponsored the 2019 editions of the Reading Half Marathon and the Blaydon Race.[39][40]

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.[41][42]


  1. ^ Jump up to:ab c d e “Annual Results 2019” (PDF). Sage Group. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  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. ^ Jump up to:ab c d e “History”. Sage. Retrieved 30 October 2010.
  7. ^ Jump up to:ab 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. ^ Jump up to:ab “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. ^ Jump up to:ab “Walker to step down as Sage chief executive”. Financial Times. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  18. ^ Jump up to:ab “Group Chief Executive”. Sage Group plc. 6 July 2010. Archived from the original on 30 December 2010. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
  19. ^“Sage Nonprofit Solutions To Be Acquired By Accel-KKR”. TheNonProfitTimes. 15 February 2013. Archived from the original on 18 February 2013.
  20. ^“New CEO at Sage Group takes up his post”. The Journal. 5 November 2015. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  21. ^“Sage buys PayChoice for $157.8 million, bolsters SMB base”. 22 September 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  22. ^Brooks, Steve (30 March 2017). “Sage buys Compass for SME ecommerce analytics -“. Enterprise Times. Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  23. ^Kepes, Ben (14 March 2017). “Sage acquires Fairsail: Is this Salesforce-based strategy going to work?”. Computerworld. Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  24. ^“Sage Group buys Intacct accounting software for £850m”. Tech Crunch. 25 July 2017. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  25. ^“Stephen Kelly ousted as Sage CEO after dismal results and faltering transformation”. diginomica. 30 August 2018. Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  26. ^ Jump up to:ab Cook, James (2 November 2018). “Sage’s finance chief Steve Hare takes helm as CEO”. The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  27. ^Manning, Jonathon (1 July 2019). “Tech giant Sage to leave Great Park”. nechronicle. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
  28. ^PYMNTS (3 March 2020). “Sage Exits Latin America With £1M Deal”. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  29. ^Mari, Angelica. “Sage sells Brazilian business”. ZDNet. Retrieved 17 September 2020.
  30. ^“Sage boasts turnover growth as more clients turn to subscriptions”. Chronicle Live. 17 January 2019. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  31. ^Full group accounts made up to 30 September 1991, The Sage Group plc, 16 February 1992
  32. ^“Sage’s £50m move may blaze a trail for others”. The Northern Echo. 26 June 2002. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  33. ^“Company Profile –”. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  34. ^“Sage Group – Investor Centre”. The Sage Group plc. Retrieved 4 February 2018.
  35. ^“The Krypton Factor”. Business Brain Training. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  36. ^“Whitley Bay FC win FA Vase for third time”. The Journal. 9 May 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  37. ^“Marussia F1 team ties up with Sage”. India in F1. 27 January 2012.
  38. ^“Sage announces multi-year partnership with Invictus Games”. 14 April 2016. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  39. ^“Sage doubles down on fundraising target”. 18 March 2019. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  40. ^“Sage Blaydon Race”. Blaydon Race. Retrieved 26 April2019.
  41. ^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.
  42. ^“Sage X3 and Percipient bolster Bristol Sport’s growth”. Percipient. 8 September 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2018.

Ofer Abarbanel – Executive Profile

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