A Business Decision for Inforte
Business & Decision Group, a consulting firm specializing in BI, has announced that it will acquire Inforte, the technology and strategy consulting firm based in Chicago. Under the definitive agreement Business & Decision will acquire Inforte for $4.25 per share in cash for an approximate total of $50 million. This amount represents a 33 percent premium on Inforte's closing share price on May 11. The acquisition of Inforte is one piece of a larger ongoing international development plan undertaken by Business & Decision five years ago; the company hopes that the buy will help it spread further out into the North American market.
"We are very happy to go forth with this acquisition," says Patrick Bensabat, founder and chairman. "We hope that we can develop the Business & Decision model in the United States very rapidly." Bensabat says that Business & Decision, originally a French company, embarked on a plan of international development five years ago. In September 2005 it announced that by 2008, the company planned to have more than 50 percent of its revenue coming in from outside of France, and promoted a presence in the United States for the first time in March 2006 with the acquisition of Mi Services. Because of Inforte's international presence, Business & Decision will also gain more ground in the United Kingdom and India as well as establishing a practice in Germany for the first time.
Bill Band, principal analyst at Forrester Research, says that for the two companies, the acquisition is mutually beneficial. Band explains that as competition increases for CRM professional services firms, it is becoming more important for them to grow in scope and scale to stay competitive. "Customer analytics and business intelligence is a fast growing sector for CRM," Band says. "The combined capabilities of the two firms will create more resources to exploit this niche." Band adds that the purchase is likewise a good decision for Inforte due to the high premium Business & Decision is placing on the price. Stephen Mack, interim CEO of Inforte, said in a prepared statement, "We will be able to provide a stronger future for our employees as well as broader offerings to our customers."
Denis Pombriant, founder and managing principal at Beagle Research, says that Business & Decision is one of a handful of BI and CRM services companies who are looking to stake a claim in the U.S. market. "It remains true that the U.S. is a very desirable market to do business in," he says. "It's just a large, homogenous market in terms of language, currency, and law."
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