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March 27, 1989


By CBR Staff Writer

Microcomputer software house Pegasus Group Plc has emerged as the eventual buyer of Unix experts Sphinx Ltd, and will pay UKP2.75m for the Unix software distributor with UKP2m in cash, UKP750,000 in new Pegasus shares – which will be split between the various owners of Sphinx, including the venture capital arm of Olivetti. Pegasus, cited as one of the original companies interested in Sphinx when we broke the story here back in January (CI No 1,097), appeared to take a back seat as negotiations with the French Intel distributor Metrologie SA took priority. Metrologie, which had made a higher offer than Pegasus, was still the front-runner until Monday night, but talks with the French company broke down and the ball was back with Pegasus. Pegasus has also been looking seriously at Control Data Corp’s Systime Ltd, but may not want to digest two acquisitions so close together. Unaudited management accounts to September 30 1988 show Sphinx with pre-tax losses of UKP259,000 on turnover of UKP6.1m. Net assets are estimated at UKP500,000. Kettering, Northamptonshire-based Pegasus sees its main strength as PC network related accounting systems: managing director Clive Booth claimed that the company now has a 40% share in that market, but only a 10% share in the Unix market, where it sells its own Senior accounting package on Unix, Xenix and AIX-based systems. That is where the incremental growth will be, said Booth. The Sphinx dealer network will also boost the efforts of Pegasus to build up third party sales, and Pegasus group marketing director Keith Hall said the company would support any of its own dealers wishing to move into Unix systems. For its Unix distributor business, Sphinx is likely to retain its own identi ty within the Pegasus Group, which recently reported record interim profits up 50.1% at UKP842,000 on sales up 12% to UKP3.9m for the six months to January 31 (CI No 1,135).

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