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January 4, 2005

PinkRoccade backtracks, opens books to Ordina

Dutch IT services provider PinkRoccade NV has decided to allow rival Ordina NV to perform due diligence on the company, despite previously denying it access to the books.

By CBR Staff Writer

In a statement issued on December 27, Voorburg, Netherlands-based PinkRoccade said that it had bowed to, heavy pressure from a group of major shareholders to allow Ordina to perform due diligence on the company.

However this has already caused repercussions for Getronics’ E350 million ($469 million) offer to acquire PinkRoccade, resulting in it now suspending its offer. PinkRoccade pointed out that it had, discussed the current situation with Getronics and is aware that there is a risk that Getronics will withdraw from the bid process.

This latest twist to the saga occurred after a statement issued by PinkRoccade on December 23, which made it clear that it would not allow Ordina access to its books. This was in response to Getronics raising its bid from a cash and shares deal worth E338 million ($452.9 million) to an all-cash deal worth E350 million ($469 million), which matched the offer tabled by Ordina.

It said that this offer was, subject to the strict condition that PinkRoccade does not allow a third party to have access to its books. If this were to happen, Getronics would retract its proposed offer.

That offer effectively trumped the equivalent one made by Ordina, since PinkRoccade’s management have always favored a tie-up with Getronics.

PinkRoccade claims that its decision to now allow Ordina access to the books is, customary at this stage of a bid process. However it is clear that this latest shift in position by PrinkRoccade’s major shareholders shows they are now intent on drawing Ordina and Getronics into a bidding war for the business. However this is likely to prove a dangerous game, with Getronics potentially withdrawing from the process altogether.

Ordina meanwhile is committing itself to an acquisitive growth strategy. At the same time, the company announced that it had acquired Recyfin NV, the IT services operation of steel producer Arcelor Group for an undisclosed sum. Ordina will take on 35 employees with skills in Microsoft and SAP tools, and a E3 million ($4.02 million) making operation. The company will then provide IT services to Arcelor Belgium for a minimum of three years.

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