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US systems integrator CIBER has bought Sage-specialist Ascent Technology Ltd. for £23m ($40m). The deal is expected to contribute to CIBER's bottom line both this year and next. CIBER turns over about $850m a year and employs 7,000 people in ten countries.

Ascent, based in Hinckly, Leicestershire, is a specialist financial reseller for SAP and Sage ERP solutions. It is Sage's most successful worldwide partner and was SAP's VAR of the year 2003. Apart from reselling others products Ascent also makes its own customer relationship software. Ascent focusses on the mid-sized and small market and building long relationships with customers - 30 per cent of Ascent's turnover is from recurring revenue.

Ascent's CEO Peter Lloyd said: "We wanted to join forces with a larger industry player to exploit both vertical and geographical market opportunities. CIBER facilitates the perfect blend of local entrepreneurship, with existing London and Oxford operations, a very credible international model and customer list, and an excellent reputation for delivery. We are delighted to have made this fit as we separate from our partners 3i [UK venture capitalist] who have given us excellent support over the last two years."

Ascent was founded in 1982 and sold to Lynx Group in 1997. In 2000 it was spun out of the group and in 2002 it underwent a management buyout funded by the Royal Bank of Scotland and 3i ®

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