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Kewill bolsters US e-commerce presence

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Kewill Systems has bought US e-commerce businesses Aristo Research and Aristo Computers for £11.6 million. The deal included £7.9 million cash and the issue of 175,683 shares by UK company Kewill, worth around £3.1 million. In addition, a maximum of £3.5 million in cash may also be payable, depending on Aristo's results over the next two years. The company will be acquired through a merger with Kewill's US subsidiary, Kewill Electronic Commerce. Aristo specialises in "multi-carrier shipping compliance", making software packages for parcel shippers to work out routes and rates. This is similar to Kewill's existing US ecommerce division, and Kewill said the move gave it over 70 per cent market share in this sector. For the year ended 30 September 1998, Aristo had sales of £3.7 million and pre-tax profit of £1.7 million. Kewill has been on the acquisition trail for the past year. In February it bought JobBOSS Software, and last October it acquired ecommerce logistics systems supplier Tracer Software for $19.6 million (See story). These followed last June's acquisition of US distributor Granitek Systems though its subsidiary Micro-MRP. ®

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