Belfast Telegraph

Newry's First Derivatives makes its move for tech firm

By Margaret Canning

Newry financial software firm First Derivatives plc has acquired an Irish tech company for €4.75m (£3.4m) -its second multi-million purchase in under a month.

AIM-listed First Derivatives will pay €1.5m (£1.1m) in cash and €3.25m (£2.4m) in shares for ActivateClients in Dublin.

If targets are met, First Derivatives (FD) will pay another €2m (£1.4m).

ActivateClients, which employs nine people, had revenues of €1.0m and €0.2m of pre-tax profit in the year to December 2014.

FD, which employs around 800 people and is one of only two listed companies in Northern Ireland, held a £15.3m share placing earlier in February in a bid to raise money for growth.

It had pre-tax profits of £7.9m in the year to February 2014.

Pat Brazel, the chief executive of ActivateClients, will now become global head of software sales for First Derivatives while stepping down as a non-executive director.

Mr Brazel said: "ActivateClients' achievement has been built on the technical expertise and dedication of our team and I am sure that our products and front-office development capabilities will be a significant asset to FD."

Brian Conlon, chief executive of FD - who founded the company in his mother's spare room in the 1990s - said: "ActivateClients is a low-risk, earnings-enhancing acquisition for the company that will deliver synergies on a number of levels.

"It provides additional technology capabilities, particularly in HTML5, and its staff possess software development skills that will be useful across a range of projects FD is working on."

Gerry Buggy is also joining the company as chief technology officer.

Goodbody Stockbrokers said: "Overall, the acquisition gives First Derivatives strong HTML5 capabilities which the company intends to use to accelerate product development."

Last month FD announced it had bought Prelytix in Masschusetts for $20m (£13.45m) in a move to boost its presence in the marketing technology sector.

Belfast Telegraph