Ibas, the data recovery and computer forensics firm, is to buy its main European competitor, UK-based Vogon International.
The earn-out deal specifies a minimum price of £4m ($7.5m) and a maximum of £9m ($17m). Vogon will continue as a separate firm until the end of the year, with the integration with Norway-based Ibas kicking off on 1 January 2006.
Vogon is privately-owned, and all the shareholders in the UK company have accepted the deal. The acquisition is conditional on a financial due diligence report.
Pinkertons for PCs
Ibas says the deal will create the clear European leader in data recovery and computer forensics or "Europe’s largest force of private data detectives" (Sam Spades for the digital age, if you will). Data recovery is the biggest business area at Ibas while Vogon has specialised in computer forensics. The acquisition will combine two technical teams and research departments in order to "achieve a higher success rate and extra capacity for complex assignments". Vogon’s US operation will give Ibas access to a large and growing market.
"The market for computer forensics is expanding sharply, and the acquisition of Vogon gives us a leading role in this area," said Bjørn Arne Skogstad, president and chief executive of Ibas. "Our own expertise in data recovery and erasure complements Vogon’s leading-edge expertise in investigating computer crime. We will jointly be very well placed in all three business areas."
Ibas estimates the deal will save it between $1.1m (NOK 7m) to $1.6m (NOK 10m) on its bottom line by 2006 thanks to rationalisation of suppliers, overlapping support functions and locations.
Vogon had sales of $11.4m in 2004, with an operating loss of $1.1m. Ibas made $1.6m on sales of $14.5m last year. The acquisition will increase the Ibas workforce from 89 to 171. The firm’s head office will be at Kongsvinger, north of Oslo. ®