The future of JBA Holdings was in the hands of Specialist Computer Holdings (SCH) last week, as it emerged that the Midlands reseller had concerns over the proposed acquisition of the AS/400 agent by Canadian vendor Geac Computer.
On 23 July, Geac revealed that it intended to acquire JBA Holdings for C$205.5m, in a deal agreed by the boards of both companies. But the purchase, which needs the approval from 90 per cent of JBA shareholders to go ahead, could be jeopardised by SCH, JBA's largest single shareholder.
In a statement issued last week, SCH stated: "We rate the company and its substance but recognise that its future may be as part of a larger organisation. We are concerned for its best interests. However, we consider the offer to be well short of the value of the business."
SCH also moved swiftly to increase its shareholding in JBA to 11.8 per cent as soon as the Geac deal was announced last week. A week earlier, SCH raised its combined holding in JBA by more than 0.5 per cent to 11.27 per cent after the SCH pension fund and SCH chairman Peter Rigby amassed a further stake (PC Dealer, 21 July).
The Geac deal values each JBA share at C$5.98, a 71 per cent premium over the price at which JBA said it was in discussions with a potential buyer on 13 July, but well short of the high of 1257p JBA reached in 1997. A spokeswoman for SCH refused to comment further on SCH's intentions.
Alan Davies, marketing director at JBA Holdings, said: "SCH has a substantial stake in JBA and is entitled to its opinion. But as it stands, we will be recommending the Geac proposal to our shareholders."
He stated that JBA had no idea what SCH was planning, but said the two companies were in regular communication. Davies added that the Geac move would open the door for JBA to the US ERP market, in which it has struggled to establish a significant presence.
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