An IT services firm that includes Rod Drury's first startup looks set to change hands - in its biggest money deal yet.
France's Capgemini has made a A$233m ($242m) bid for ASX-listed Empired, a group that includes one of New Zealand's higher-profile IT services firms, Intergen.
The A$135 per share all-cash offer, recommended by Empired's board and revealed ahead of today's trading, represented a 64 per cent premium on Friday's closing price. And Empired shares shot up to A$1.31 as the Australian market opened today, indicating most investors see it as a done deal.
From the NZ entrepreneurial point of view, the story started in 1995, when Drury left his job as a consultant for EY to found IT services firm Glazier Systems, specialising in Microsoft software.
Glazier was acquired by another Microsoft specialist, Advantage Group - later renamed Intergen in 1999 for around $7.5m.
Intergen was, in turn, bought by Empired in 2014 in a $19.5m deal. Again, Empired was a Microsoft specialist.
Intergen's Australian office was absorbed into Empired, but Intergen NZ maintained an independent identity. New owner Capgemini (which bought Drury's old employer, EY, back in 2000) has not made any immediate comments about its plans for the NZ business, which includes offices in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, with 355 staff listed on LinkedIn.
The Herald has asked the French multi-national for comment, but a Capgemini statement issued earlier name-checked the NZ subsidiary - indicating it could maintain at least brand independence.
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"Empired, known in New Zealand through its brand Intergen, would mark a step change for Capgemini in New Zealand, where it generates about a third of its business," the statement said.
Gapgemini Asia-Pacific CEO Olaf Pietschner said Empired had more than 1000 staff, including those who worked for Intergen in NZ, and that the acquisition would strengthen his company's position across customers in mining, utilities and Government.
"Capgemini's extensive transformation expertise combined with Empired's strengths as a leader in Microsoft Azure and Dynamics 365 will open up the full power of digital transformation for our clients in Australia and New Zealand, to run their entire business in the cloud and realise value faster. We look forward to welcoming Empired's talented professionals to Capgemini," he said.
The deal set to close in mid-November is approved by regulators and shareholders.