Advantage scoops up local Microsoft shop

Advantage Group announced yesterday that it is moving to boost its e-commerce capabilities by acquiring the Internet developers and service provider, Glazier Systems. The acquisition follows Advantage's recently announced e-commerce alliance with Microsoft New Zealand.

Advantage Group announced yesterday that it is moving to boost its e-commerce capabilities by acquiring the Internet developers and service provider, Glazier Systems.

The conditional agreement announced yesterday will see the business interests, all shares and 54 staff of Glazier join Advantage Group. Advantage will pay a total of $7.1 million to be paid half in cash, half in stock which will be issued at $2.50, the average market price over the 10 business days before the announcement.

Glazier undertakes Internet development for such high-profile clients as Telecom, EDS, NZ Post, Lion Nathan, Ernst and Young, Renaissance and others. Its work is closely identified with Microsoft platforms. Glazier's Wellington-based Rod Drury was selected as New Zealand's first representative in Microsoft's Corporate Regional Director program.

"The acquisition has enormous strategic value for Advantage," says Advantage chairman Evan Christian. "This is the company's third acquisition since May and the most significant to date in the e-commerce space. It underpins Advantage's rapidly growing e-commerce business and complements our alliance with Microsoft, adding significantly to our development capability."

The acquisition follows Advantage's recently announced e-commerce agreement with Microsoft New Zealand.

"Glazier's skill base and track record demonstrates growth that has kept it the forefront of the rapidly evolving web development sector," says Advantage CEO Greg Cross. "It is a very profitable business which, through its business consulting background, is skilled at adapting to the changing requirements of this sector."

"Adding Glazier's Internet development and consulting business expertise to Advantage's existing payments and e-commerce capability allows us to achieve several strategic objectives," says Cross.

"Firstly, this acquisition extends our skill base and experience considerably both into the business-to-business consumer space by delivering substantial Internet skills to the company. Secondly, Advantage has a business focus on delivering end-to-end e-commerce solutions for its local and international customers and this acquisition strengthens our reach through the supply chain. Thirdly, Glazier's business consulting strengths are hugely valuable as we look to deliver solutions to international vertical markets. The two businesses fit extremely well together."

Glazier's Drury describes Advantage's move as "a growth strategy for us. When we've integrated our business consulting and web development capabilities with Advantage's payment processing and transaction expertise, we'll be able to offer international clients end-to-end e-commerce solutions. We've always enjoyed challenging, complex projects and Glazier is now ready to tackle the next level. Through Advantage, we have capital and headroom available for rapid growth and international competitiveness."

The agreement is subject to due diligence and completion of contractual arrangements on or before 15 September 1999. Advantage does not anticipate needing to seek shareholder approval of this transaction and settlement date will be five business days after the conditions are satisfied.

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