A second venture capital company with links to Dr Robb Wilmot has defied conventional wisdom and invested in an already publicly quoted UK computer company. Following the lead of the partially Wilmot-owned Octagon Investment Management Ltd which last week announced it was moving into Wordplex Information Systems (CI No 669), Advent Ltd, the main backer of the Wilmot-led chip foundry European Silicon Structures, yesterday revealed it had bought 25% of the Kettering, Northants accounting software house Brikat Plc. London-based Advent, the UK affiliate of TA Associates of Boston, Massachusetts paid 157p a share – against the then market price of 142p – for the 14% and 11% stakes held respectively by former Brikat chief executive Colin Stanley who resigned in December (CI No 576), and his estranged wife Kathryn. As a result of the deal, Neil Pearce (CI No 376) and John Nash of Advent are joining the board, a move which Brikat finance director Chris Jones says strengthens the company’s management, its ability to raise outside finance should it be necessary, and fills what the outside world has thought of as a hole since Colin Stanley departed. It will also mean that chairman Derek Moon, who has already indicated his desire to retire, can be replaced from within when he decides to finally call it a day. Brikat, best known for its Pegasus products and IBM’s unsuccessful Solo package, came to the Unlisted Securities Market in April 1984. It ran into trouble last year as a result of its purchase of a string of Pegasus re-sellers and reported interim pre-tax profits to January this year down 55% at UKP239,000 (CI No 648). Aside from Brikat and ES2, Advent’s best known investments include Ada developer Jean Ichbiah’s Alsys SA, Phillipe Kahn’s Borland International, LSI Logic – soon to float its European end in London – and IBM mainframe software designer Macro 4 Plc whose shares have gone up and up ever since its UK listing last January. Brikat’s shares closed at 157p, up 15p, on the news of Advent’s involvement.
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