Canadian firm swoops on JBA

AS/400 to ERP house valued at over £90m

JBA Holdings has agreed to a cash bid from Canadian software reseller GEAC Computer, valuing the company at over £90 million. GEAC will pay 250 pence per share for the Birmingham-based software vendor and AS/400 house, according to a statement to the stock exchange this morning. The offer will be made by ING Barings on behalf of GEAC UK, a GEAC subsidiary created to make the offer. It represents about 71 per cent above the closing mid-market price of JBA shares on 13 July, which was the last dealing day before JBA said it had received indication of an offer. The move values the company at around £92.5 million. GEAC already owns one million JBA shares, or 2.7 per cent of JBA share capital. The JBA directors said they considered the deal "fair and reasonable and unanimously intend to recommend JBA shareholders to accept the offer". The JBA group makes enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, specifically for mid-sized enterprises. GEAC, based in Markham, Ontario, provides software and systems to large and mid-sized businesses, including the ERP, property management and banking sectors. Douglas Bergeron, GEAC president and CEO, said: "We are enthusiastic about the opportunities for JBA within the GEAC Group, and look forward to developing the joint group’s position within both the mid-sized and large-sized segments of the global ERP market." JBA made a pre-tax loss before exceptional items of £14.5 million for the year ended 31 December 1998. Earlier this month it announced a company re-jig to split the group in four. It also cut its global workforce by eight per cent to 3000. ®

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