Geographic coverage prompts Fujitsu's Infinity buy

Fujitsu had scanned the market for six months and had looked at "quite a few companies", says Australia and New Zealand CEO

In the week leading up to the announcement that Fujitsu New Zealand planned to buy Infinity Solutions there had been speculation in the market that Fujitsu had also been talking to other companies, including Eagle Technology.

Not so, says Eagle CEO Gary Langford, who was aware of the rumours.

That’s confirmed by Rod Vawdrey, Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand CEO, who says, however, that Fujitsu had scanned the market for six months and had looked at “quite a few companies”.

It was, he says, a continuous process once Infinity had been identified as a target. “Our focus was on geographic coverage,” he says.

That is what Infinity provides, with its national break-fix network. It is contracted to EDS to provide some of these services, something which Vawdrey says will only serve to strengthen an already good relationship globally between Fujitsu and EDS.

Vawdrey says the purpose of the acquisition was to accelerate growth in New Zealand for Fujitsu.

“It is a tight labour market and thus it’s hard to add staff.” The two companies are of similar size, each with revenues of around $60 million and each with more than 200 staff. That’s still some distance behind competitors such as Gen-i, which in its most recent financial year posted revenues of $380 million.

Fujitsu and Infinity are pitching the deal as a “merger of equals”. It is subject to Infinity Group shareholder approval, expected to be a formality at a board meeting Computerworld is told is scheduled for October 15.

Infinity was formed in 2000 in a deal stitched together by former Brierley Investments management alumni. Through an investment vehicle called Active Equities, they created Infinity Group, which comprises the former Trilogy Group, Madison Group, Quanta Systems and, latterly, Comtex.

Active Equities owns 43.5% of Infinity Group, which owns 100% of Infinity Solutions, through AEL Holdings. Active Equities is itself owned 100% by Perpetual Trust Ltd, which is owned 100% by Pyne Gould Corporation.

Fujitsu New Zealand, after some years of stagnation, posted a 21% rise in revenues for the year to March 2007.

Vawdrey says the company is now amply set up to compete and that there is “nothing else on the table” in terms of other likely acquisitions.

“It’s always about filling in the gaps in the portfolio,” he says.

Vawdrey says he expects the new management team to be a blend of current Fujitsu New Zealand and Infinity management.

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