The story was also front-page headlines in the industry newspaper CTW (Computer Trade Weekly) that same week.
CTW – Issue 225 – 27.2.89
Telecomsoft: open to offers
After months of speculation, rumour and outright gossip, Telecomsoft last week announced that it is up for sale.
The decision follows the failure of an attempted management buy-out lead by the firm’s general manager Paula Byrne. She has spearheaded the efforts of a six-strong Telecomsoft management team to gain control for the last five months.
Last Monday, however, the team decided it could not agree terms with BT and the move was abandoned. The decision to put the software group on the market for outside bids was taken the same day. TelecomSoft claims it has already received enquiries from “a number of interested parties”.
Byrne would not reveal the identity of any prospective buyer but commented that she was surprised at the areas of industry from which some offers had come. Previous speculation concerning a take-over has centred around the Mirror group, Mediagenic and NEC.
“For a while now it’s been clear that we did not have a strategic fit within Telecom and over the last year especially we’ve become much more of an independent concern and a standalone business with our own accounts and separate identity. Now we don’t really fit in any way, shape or form”, Byrne commented to CTW.
Although a new owner is expected to be announced shortly, details for now are scarce about what effect the move will have on the future of Telecomsoft. Ideally, the firm is looking to be bought by as a complete unit, but Byrne conceived there is a possibility that it may be sold as a number of separate concerns.
She offered bullishly: “It would be a pity if any takeover did mean a split because this is the best software house in Europe. Hopefully, whoever takes us will take us lock, stock and barrel because this is a winning formula.”
Not surprisingly, Byrne chose not to reveal the asking price for the group although it was obviously beyond the negotiating power of the management team. Last year Telecomsoft posted a turnover of close to £6 million.
The group’s history under the BT wing has certainly been a chequered one, but Byrne insists this latest development is an indication of success rather than failure. She claims Telecomsoft has outgrown BT’s original modest ambitions for the group.
“Originally they thought the idea would be just to sell software over the phone and it was a way of expanding on their existing business. But now it’s become a snazzy, fast moving consumer business that just doesn’t fit in the group.”
Obviously with the name Telecomsoft implying something more than tenuous links with BT, a change will be announced after the completion of the deal.
The Rainbird, Firebird and Silverbird labels, however, seem certain to retain their identity