NZ developer steps up with iTouch acquisition

Christchurch-based Palm and WAP application developer Holliday Group has been acquired by the UK-based mobile service provider iTouch.

Christchurch-based Palm and WAP application developer Holliday Group has been acquired by the UK-based mobile service provider iTouch.

The local company is celebrating the "great opportunities" offered by the deal but emphasising that it will be business as usual at Holliday for the time being.

"The management team at Hollidays is still at the helm and we look forward to continued business relations with all our valued customers," says managing director Phil Holliday.

Details of the acquisition were released to the London Stock Exchange on Friday. They are "intricate", says Holliday.

"Essentially, an initial purchase consideration is being settled in a 50/50 ratio of cash and shares. The remainder will be based upon a three-year earn-out provision subject to the achievement of agreed revenue and EBITDA targets. It is an attractive offer that will provide the opportunity for Hollidays to expand into the global arena."

iTouch joint managing director Wayne Pitout says that as soon as his team met the principals at Holliday "we recognised the enormous business potential Holliday's expertise would bring to iTouch. They are regarded as the leading mobile development house for advanced mobile applications in the Asia Pacific region, with over 40 installed applications, most of which operate on Palm handheld devices."

Ivan Fallon, the chairman of iTouch, says the acquisition enhances the "rapidly growing corporate side of iTouch by bringing experience in mobile office solutions, GPRS technology, and development across multiple network technologies - GSM, CDPD and CDMA. The addition of Holliday enables iTouch to develop, implement and support full end-to-end mobile office solutions for business, corporate and network customers."

Phil Holliday says being able to roll out products through the iTouch footprint in six countries "not only gives our offering the geographical reach we have been looking for, but means we will also be able to expand our product range faster than through organic growth. We now have the support and internal infrastructure necessary to effectively grow the business internationally."

Holliday's mobile wireless business solutions are already undergoing GPRS network trials in New Zealand; these will be rolled out in the UK from January 2001. The company has also built its own communication server in Jade, the software environment created by its fellow Christchurch company, Aoraki Corporation.

As part of the agreement, Hollidays is actively recruiting new staff both here and in the UK and will open an office in London.

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