Monday, 8 December 2008

Macro 4 goes under the hammer

(By Anthony Miller) Veteran (well, we think 40 years trading counts as veteran in our sector!) systems and document management software player, Macro 4, has recommended an all cash 145p a share bid from privately held US systems management firm, Unicom Systems. The offer is 39% above Macro 4’s share price the day prior to Friday’s offer and Unicom advise they hold or have irrevocable undertakings for almost 56% of Macro’s stock, having already held 16% of the c. 23m shares in issue.

We have followed Macro for many, many years and through a few transformations, but arguably its heart remains in systems management products for IBM mainframes and servers. Like for Micro Focus below, this is a market which will never die but will probabaly never be very 'exciting' (note: this is not necessarily a bad thing!). With FY08 revenues down to £29m, lower even than in 1999 (£31m), Macro never really managed to escape the growth drag in the 1990’s as mainframes fell increasingly out of fashion, but soldiered on, introducing document management systems some years ago. This didn’t provide the breakthrough that management had hoped, and the rest, as they say, is now history. Even so, it is sad to see yet another UK software player leave the stock market and, in effect, leave our shores.

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