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January 27, 1998

SAGE BUYS SOTA

By CBR Staff Writer

UK accounting software house, Sage Plc, has just taken its biggest bite yet of the US market with the purchase State Of The Art Inc, for $263m in cash. Nasdaq listed State of The Art is a PC and Windows NT based accountancy software specialist from Irvine, California. With annual revenue of $64m and profits of $6.5m, it will lift Sage’s US presence to around 30% of group revenues from the current 13%. SOTA has just announced its best quarter ever, and the $22 a share offer gives SOTA Inc’s stock holders a 33% premium over the closing price on Monday. The move is in Sage’s well rehearsed tradition of not knocking square pegs into round holes. Rather than trying to bend its own products to fit foreign legislative and accounting requirements, it has a history of acquiring successful domestic players in the small to medium-sized business arena. The cash purchase will be funded by a placing of 70m pounds of new shares (approximately 7% of existing share capital) together with 89m pounds of new loans, to be repaid over five years. Sage said it believed SOTA would benefit from the UK company’s expertise in brand and channel management.

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