SunGard makes its move on City-based disaster recovery firm, Guardian iT

SunGard makes its move on City-based disaster recovery firm, Guardian iT

SunGard is to acquire UK disaster recovery firm Guardian iT, in a deal valued, in total, at approximately £167 million. The acquisition includes the assumption of Guardian iT's £111 million debt burden.

SunGard will pay 80 pence per ordinary share for the entire issued and to-be-issued share capital of Guardian iT. The offer values the issued share capital of Guardian at approximately £56 million. As at 31st March 2002, the Guardian Group had debts, net of cash balances, of approximately £111 million. The value of Guardian, based on the value of the offer and net debts of the Guardian Group, is approximately £167 million.

Guardian iT provides a range of business continuity, data management and high availability IT services in Europe. The company owns approximately 700,000 square feet of recovery facilities that support more than 2700 customers and over 6000 end-user recovery positions.

The acquisition will strengthen SunGard's current information availability services business in the United Kingdom and Europe, says the company, and produce operating efficiencies from better use of equipment. Ultimately this will reduce facility costs, believes SunGard.

Guardian iT sank considerable amounts of cash into building a state-of-the-art facility near to Heathrow airport. SunGard plans to continue developing the Heathrow facility into a technology hub that will be the largest dedicated information availability services facility in Europe.

In February, Guardian iT announced it was holding preliminary bid talks, following the resignation of chairman Richard Raworth and the disclosure of serious accounting discrepancies. After discussions with a large number of parties, the company believes SunGard's offer is "the best means of maximising value for Guardian's shareholders."

Richard Raworth, chairman of Guardian, states: "The offer from SunGard places Guardian within a large, well-capitalised group, creating an international industry leader with the resources to drive Guardian's growth".

James Mann, chairman and chief executive officer of SunGard, comments: "Guardian is a well-established and respected business in the European market. The combination of Guardian and our existing information availability services business in the UK and France makes great commercial and strategic sense."

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