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May 30, 2014

Anite sells off travel software business to Lloyds Banking Group

Hampshire-based firm counts Samsung and Vodafone among its clients.

By Vinod

British technology firm Anite, which provides IT systems to many major operators and technology companies, has announced the sale of its travel business to the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group.

The deal will see Lloyd’s Development Capital (LDC) pay £45m for Anite Travel, which develops travel reservation software, and employs 580 people from its headquarters in Slough.

The business accounted for around 15% of Anite’s revenues of £132.5m in 2013. Anite’s shares rose around 6.5% on the London Stock Exchange following the news.

The deal is the latest move by Fleet-based Anite, which counts Vodafone and Samsung amongst its customers, to assert its position as a global leader in wireless test solutions, which the company said contributed more than three quarters of its total revenue and operating profit last year.

This growth has also been spurred on by increased investment in research and development in the wireless area, with the company committing over £10m annually in recent years.

"We believe it is good news for both Anite’s shareholders and travel’s customers and employees; it will enable us to focus on and accelerate the growth of the wireless businesses whilst, under LDC’s ownership, travel can take the next step in its growth story," Christopher Humphrey, Anite chief executive said, announcing the news.

"The sale of Travel is consistent with our long stated strategy to reinforce Anite’s position as a global leader in wireless test solutions. As a focused business with a strengthened balance sheet, we will be better able to take advantage of growth opportunities in the wireless market.

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"We look forward to developing the business as a ‘pure-play’ Wireless company," Humphrey added.

Anite said the decision to sell off Travel was based on less than encouraging prospects for the leisure travel industry, and followed several approaches.

The deal was debt free and £1.7m of the amount would be held in escrow subject to the resolution of certain commercial considerations, the company said.

As part of the deal, Anite and LDC have also entered into a reciprocal service agreement to provide each other with data centre and hosting services.

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