Advantage acquires again

Advantage Group is to purchase Auckland software developer Aldridge Punter in a stock-only deal - but the exact purchase price is 'contingent on performance' over the next three years.

Advantage Group is to purchase Auckland software developer Aldridge Punter in a stock-only deal.

But the exact price it will pay for its new acquisition is open to question. Advantage says it will pay "up to $6.3 million" for Aldridge Punter's business and assets, with payment to be made in Advantage shares over a three year period - but that the consideration will be "contingent on performance".

The acquisition of the 24-year-old enterprise software specialist will bring an extra 76 employees to the 300-odd already in the Advantage fold, and access to some blue-chip clients, including Air New Zealand, Carter Holt Harvey, Auckland Healthcare, Waitemata Healthcare and BMW New Zealand. The company develops for Microsoft, Oracle, Lotus and SAP platforms.

Aldridge Punter will continue to operate as a separate entity after the purchase, with co-founder Murray Aldridge remaining as managing director.

The $6.3 million agreement will see Advantage pay $2 million in Advantage shares on settlement and, if agreed earnout targets are fully achieved, $1 million in Advantage shares 12 months from settlement, $1 million in Advantage shares on 31 March 2002 and $2.3 million in Advantage shares on 31 March 2003.

Each issue of shares will be made at the then prevailing market price or may be satisfied in cash at Advantage's election. Advantage does not need to seek shareholder approval for the transaction.

The unconditional date (by which due diligence needs to be completed) is 31 March 2000, with settlement date set for 28 April 2000.

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