Computer Software Group plc (“CS Group”) announced on 2 May that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire AIM Group.
AIM Group had cash resources of £0.8 million and its last accounts showed a loss before tax from continuing operations of £107k and gross assets of £7.5 million. Jim Chase, who joined AIM in 1986, will continue in his role as managing director of the AIM Group legal software business unit within CS Group. All other AIM Group directors will resign.
Vin Murria, CEO of Computer Software Group plc, commented:
“I am confident that AIM Group, with its strong and stable client base, will make a significant contribution to our business. The Sharpowl solutions perfectly complement our accounting portfolio while the core legal and professional services offerings provide a sound foundation for a new sector that CS Group will put a strong emphasis on.”
Jim Chase, AIM Managing Director, added:
“This opens an exciting new phase of development for the AIM business; our staff, our customers and our future customers alike. Joining forces with the CS Group means that the AIM solutions are now backed by a great pool of resource and expertise. CS Group have taken us on as a going concern and are very interested in the legal market. It will enable us to bring in new product – business intelligence software, CR and document management, for example. It also gives us an opening to sell into a number of in-house legal departments in the existing client base of the CS Group”.
AIM had 80 staff; CS Group about 300. CS Group’s interim 2005/06 results showed “sustained improvements in the underlying trading performance of the core business and a pleasing contribution from acquisitions”. The broker’s turnover forecast for 2005/06 is 24.7m rising to £28.5m in 2007.
Laurence Eastham comments:
AIM boast of a substantial recent increase in sales (20 to 30%) and will probably benefit from an association such as this. The price paid is not indicative of a booming company but neither is it a distress sale – it is probably indicative of VCs looking for a return. Properly handled this could be a real boost for AIM and its customers might benefit accordingly. What a fresh eye may see is that, while Evolution (the AIM flagship product) is a real and marketable asset, most of the money in legal IT in the future is likely to be services rather than sales based. Who knows, we might be looking at a Tikit-like reinvention in a few years.