Belfast Telegraph

Intel expected to take hit on sale of Belfast tech firm

By Margaret Canning

Indian IT giant Persistent Systems is to buy Belfast tech firm Aepona Holdings from US chip giant Intel - which is selling on the business only two years after buying it for around £80m.

The sale by Intel, which had revenue of $13.2bn (£8.5bn) for the second quarter of the year, is expected to be finalised in six to eight weeks.

No figure has been disclosed for the deal - though it's understood to be for less than was paid for it.

An Intel statement said: "Intel has signed a definitive agreement to divest Aepona to Persistent Systems Inc., a subsidiary of Persistent Systems.

"Going forward, we expect to collaborate with Persistent and other third parties for the type of capabilities that Aepona offers...while we sharpen our focus on the internal development of software and services that differentiate our platforms for these segments."

Invest NI, a former shareholder in Aepona that sold on its shares after Intel's acquisition, refused to comment.

Aepona is based at The Soloist at Lanyon Place but also has offices in Sri Lanka, Dublin and the US. Its general manager Michael Black received an OBE last month for services to the Northern Ireland ICT industry. He could not be reached for comment yesterday.

In an interview with Business Standard this week, Persistent Systems chief Anand Deshpande said it had a "nice formula for acquisition and we acquire them at a reasonable price".

Aepona was founded by Dublin entrepreneur Gilbert Little. In its time it attracted tens of millions of dollars in financial backing from the likes of BlackBerry and software giant SAP.

Aepona has its roots in a firm called Aldiscon, founded by Mr Little and Larry Quinn. The sale of Aepona was one of the largest-ever sales of a technology firm in Ireland, with Belfast becoming an Intel "service division centre of excellence for greater Europe and Asia/Pacific".

Speaking at the time, the then-Enterprise Minister said Aepona had become a "competitive and respected firm".

"It is no surprise therefore, that it has attracted the attention of one of the most well-known technology companies in the world."

Belfast Telegraph