Monday, 30 July 2007

Steria to buy Xansa for £472m

Further to the post on Friday, early this morning Steria was announced as the bidder for Xansa at 130p per share, valuing Xansa at £472m. that's a 70% premium to Xansa's close on Thursday.
Steria is a French IT services player with rev of E1.26m (£844m) in 2006. It had UK rev of £194m in 2006 compared to Xansa's £357m; all in the UK.

I have to admit that Steria was not on my list of likely bidders. I had hoped Xansa might find something nearer home! As it is, yet another of the oldest UK-owned IT services players falls into foreign ownership. Yet again it is French! I seem to have spent 20 years writing about the rape and pillage of the UK-owned sector. In 1985 nine out of the top ten suppliers of IT services to the UK market were UK-owned. Now it is exactly round the other way. Although Xansa (or FI Group as it was previously known) never figured in that Top Ten, it was the sole UK-owned entry in the £300m-£1m revenue tables. Saying that, Xansa seemed to be on every bodies 'hit' list of late. This intensified when Alistair Cox announced his departure recently to head Hays.
Steria says that the combined revenues of E1.8b puts them in the Top Ten in Europe. Not quite sure I'd agree! In the UK, c£560m combined revenues will not give them a Top Ten place according to my figures.

Also it's a big acquisition for Steria. Acquisition Indigestion is quite likely. Do Steria have top management of the calibre to handle this scale of acquisition?

I just wonder what dear Dame Hilary would have thought....

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