Assystem Technologies has, through a subsidiary company, announced a takeover offer to acquire the SQS group (“Offer”), a benchmark player in systems and software testing, quality assurance and digital transformation. Founded in 1982 and listed on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM), SQS is based in Germany and has an operating presence in 25 countries. In 2016, it had 4,500 employees and generated €327 million in sales.
The proposed combination of Assystem Technologies and SQS is expected to create an enlarged Assystem Technologies group with approximately 14,000 employees with combined revenues of approximately €1 billion.
The Offer is expected to enable Assystem Technologies (a company controlled by Ardian) to diversify and strengthen:
- its offerings for software testing solutions, quality assurance and change management support;
- its geographic presence, notably in Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom and India (where SQS has 1,800 employees);
- its expertise in the banking/insurance sector as well as in distribution and telecommunications.
Olivier Aldrin, CEO of Assystem Technologies said:
“We are delighted that our proposal has been recommended by the SQS Boards. The coming together of Assystem Technologies and SQS creates a dynamic, fast-growing international business with complementary outlook, strategic geographical presence and an enhanced ability to market innovative products and services. The enlarged business will combine SQS’s expertise in quality assurance and process consulting in the digital world, with Assystem Technologies’ breadth of engineering product design capabilities, positioning the enlarged Assystem Technologies group to leverage the convergence of the digital and physical worlds.
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We firmly believe that this operation would create significant value for our clients, employees and shareholders.”
LiseFauconnier, Managing Director of Ardian’s Buyout Fund commented:
“The acquisition of SQS would be perfectly in line with the growth trajectory we are seeking to map out with Assystem Technologies – it would mark a milestone in the group’s international expansion and enable it to fully partner its clients across the globe. At the same time, Assystem Technologies’ management team has our full support to seize any other external growth opportunities.”
Diederik Vos – who is the current CEO of SQS and would be the future Deputy CEO of the new group – stated:
“The SQS Boards welcome the takeover offer and believe that it reflects an attractive valuation for SQS at a significant cash premium to the prevailing share price. We believe that it is an opportunity to join up with an organisation that is complementary and which provides enhanced opportunity for the benefit of our staff and customers. Combining the two companies will create a truly global business delivering a “best in class” offering to customers based on a shared culture of technical excellence, continued innovation and providing the highest standards of service.”
The completion of the Offer is subject to conditions and terms which are customary for a transaction of this nature and include (a) receiving valid acceptances from SQS shareholders which represent not less than 75 per cent. in nominal capital of the SQS Shares and of the voting rights normally exercisable at a general meeting of SQS and (b) consents in relation to the Offer under the merger control rules in Germany and Austria are obtained without the initiation of a second phase investigation.
Further details of the Offer can be found in the announcement posted on SQS’ website at www.sqs.com/en/offer.php..