Oakton to buy govt contractor Acumen Alliance

Australian IT services provider Oakton plans to acquire local consulting company Acumen Alliance in a deal worth between AU$35-$45 million.

update Australian IT services provider Oakton today said it was planning to acquire local consulting company Acumen Alliance, in a deal expected to be worth between AU$35-$45 million.

Privately held Acumen -- which has around 280 employees and 100 contractors -- provides IT, corporate governance, financial management, assurance and management consulting services. A large proportion of the group's revenues come from federal government projects in Canberra.

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange this morning, Oakton claimed the arrangement would extend its existing service capability, "significantly strengthen" its consulting skills and give it extra offerings in the IT solutions area.

"Acumen Alliance clients have minimal overlap with existing Oakton clients, particularly in the ACT/federal government arena where Oakton does not currently operate," the services company said.

The acquisition -- Oakton's seventh since going public in 2000 -- would see Oakton's total workforce boosted to over 1,000 employees, with Acumen Alliance chairman Robert Kennedy to join Oakton's board.

In a statement, Oakton chief executive Neil Wilson said: "This acquisition is an excellent match to our stated strategic directions for increased market share, staff number growth and establishment of a presence in the Canberra/federal government market. We have clearly accelerated the achievement of our financial year 2009 growth targets."

"Oakton and Acumen Alliance have known each other for some time, and it is clear that there is strong cultural alignment in the areas of service quality, people management and a focus on continuous performance improvement and growth."

The variable amount of the transaction is due to its dependence on Acumen's performance during the next few years. "If the business significantly under or over performs, the total consideration could fall outside this range," said Oakton in its statement.

Oakton's statement said the acquisition was conditional on staff, client and Acumen Alliance shareholder approvals, and a successful restructure of the latter.