DataGroup has acquired Thesaurus Computer Services for up to £16m in the first strike of its acquisition plan that will lead to the company's flotation.
Thesaurus, based in Milton Keynes, specialises in systems and software support, and marks the first step in DataGroup's acquisition plan. The strategy will be financed by a Schroeder Ventures war chest of £150m and will result in the company seeking a full listing on the London Stock Exchange in autumn 2001.
Datagroup's acquisition targets will be specialist organisations dealing in knowledge management, application development and maintenance, network management, and ecommerce.
Derek Lewis, Tplc founder and DataGroup chairman, said: "We have offers out on an application development firm and a French network management company. Once all acquisitions are complete, we will be looking for a full listing on the Stock Exchange. At that point we expect turnover to be between £300m and £350m. The aim is to float in September 2001."
Lewis added that he expected DataGroup to be the biggest services operation of its kind in Europe. Thesaurus achieved profit of £1.8m and revenue of £10m for the year ended 31 May.
"Thesaurus has exactly the attributes we look for in a business. It has highly skilled employees and an experienced and motivated management team.
"It is entirely services based, with high operating margins and quality customer service," he said.
Richard Holway, analyst at Holway Associates, added: "It's clearly a good deal and anything Lewis is involved in is something to watch. Thesaurus operates on good margins and it has long-term customer relationships and a blue chip customer base. We would guess at a price tag of between £15m and £16m for the operation."
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