Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Education, Education ...

(By Anthony Miller) Some news on recent contract wins from a couple of UK education IT market suppliers, perhaps with somewhat different motivations. Our leading independent education specialist player, RM, confirmed a £10m contract under the BSF (Building Schools for the Future) scheme at Middlesbrough. This follows its recent $8m acquisition of US-based Computrac. RM had a pretty lacklustre first half, but a recent trading update claims business is “consistent with management expectations”. RM reports its FY results on 24th Nov.

Very much smaller Gladstone has also issued a flurry of announcements about its Education business, clearly as part of its defence against a hostile takeover bid from Canadian player, Constellation Inc. Constellation took a near-30% stake in Gladstone at 25p a share in March (then some 25% above the prevailing market price) and pressed for a seat on the board, which Gladstone refused. Constellation launched a hostile bid on 13th October at the same price, about a third above Gladstone’s then trading levels. Gladstone is expected to issue its formal rebuttal of Constellation’s bid in the next few days. Will we see yet another ‘little British battler’ succumb?

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