BT Global Services is to make a fourth major takeover in the US in the space of two years by swooping for International Network Services Inc for an undisclosed sum.
Santa Clara, California-based INS provides consulting, integration and support services around multi-vendor network software and equipment, with partners including Cisco, Microsoft, SITA and EMC. The company has 900 employees across 12 countries, and had gross assets of $49.7m on September 25, 2005.
Reports suggested that BT will pay just over 100m pounds ($197m) for INS, and that it expects to close the deal in the next few weeks.
BT will become INS’ second high-profile owner. The company hit the headlines back in 1999 when Lucent Technologies shelled out a huge $3.7bn to acquire it in order to boost its internal services capabilities, with INS racking up sales of around $300m during that year.
But as demand for new network projects collapsed, and INS suffered due to the loss of its vendor-agnostic status, Lucent sold INS in 2002 in a move that created a new privately-owned company backed by West Coast Venture Capital.
INS’ president and CEO David Butze led the company out of Lucent and he will now report jointly to Chuck Pol, president of BT Americas, and to Gary Bullard, president of BT Global Business and Services.
BT Global Services has stepped up its US expansion strategy in the last two years through a series of large takeovers. In February 2005, it completed the $575m of network services provider Infonet Corp, and followed that up later in the year by taking control of Radianz, a services vendor to the financial services sector part-owned by media giant Reuters.
Last year, it paid an undisclosed sum to buy privately-owned Counterpane in a move designed to extend its range of security products and services. BT Global Services currently has 2,500 staff in the US and owns the second largest IP network in the country. It said that revenue in the US rose by 25% in its last fiscal year ending March 2006.
Many telecoms operators are keen to expand their IT and network services capabilities, including Deutesche Telekom, France Telecom and AT&T, but BT has been easily the most aggressive in terms of M&A activity and pursuing major services contracts.