Contact: Ben Kolada
Consolidation in the IT services segment took a leap forward today, as Canadian systems integrator CGI Group announced that it would pay £1.7bn (about $2.7bn), or £2bn when including net debt, for British counterpart Logica. We’ve already written about IT services deals happening on a smaller scale in the US, but this transaction takes the cake as being the largest cross-border deal since NTT bought Dimension Data in July 2010 for $3.2bn.
Specific to CGI, this is its largest acquisition on record, and comes almost two years to the day after it announced its previous high-priced transaction, the nearly billion-dollar purchase of systems integrator Stanley Inc. The Stanley buy itself was a geographic play, meant to expand CGI’s footprint in the US. The rationale for today’s reach for Logica is no different.
CGI is buying Logica as a pure geographic move meant to diversify its revenue globally. Currently, CGI’s revenue is split about half and half between the US and Canada, with only 6% coming from Europe. Logica, on the other hand, generates almost no revenue from North American operations. Its revenue mix is heavily slanted toward Western Europe, with its top three markets by country being France, the UK and Sweden. If and when the deal closes, the combined company will have a presence in 43 countries. The transaction will also more than double CGI’s revenue, creating the sixth-largest IT services provider worldwide.
Diversification is so key to CGI’s strategy that it is tapping nearly every possible outlet to pay for its larger rival. CGI will issue 46.7 million subscription receipts (exchangeable into new Class A shares), secure a £1.25bn term loan from CIBC, National Bank of Canada and Toronto-Dominion Bank, and draw down £405m from its existing credit facility.
Although dilutive, CGI’s shareholders so far approve of the acquisition. Shares of the Canadian company, which trade on the NYSE, were up 12% at midday. Although the deal would seem to undervalue Logica by one metric, its shareholders have reason enough to approve of the acquisition. While the transaction values Logica at about half times sales (the two most recent billion-dollar-plus IT services acquisitions, both announced last year, were done for 1x sales), CGI’s offer represents a heady 60% premium to Logica’s closing share price on May 30, and a 50% premium over the average closing share price for the prior month. Bank of America Merrill Lynch advised Logica on the deal.
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