By Samuel Mungadze for ITWeb
Miles Crisp, CEO of technology group Tarsus, resigned yesterday, with the company saying group finance director Joanne Tanner has also decided to leave to pursue other opportunities.
The double resignations were unexpected, as the group is in the middle of a buyout with Alviva, another JSE-listed technology group.
Board chairman Lawrence Barnett says Tarsus will appoint a new CEO shortly.
“Although we would have been pleased to retain the services of Miles and Joanne after the acquisition, we respect their decision to pursue new careers and wish them well. We thank them for their contributions to the group over the years. We will miss their wisdom, commitment, steady leadership and deep industry experience.”
Barnett adds that Crisp was appointed as group CEO in 2014, with a mandate from the board and majority shareholder Investec to optimise operations, derisk funding, strengthen governance and facilitate the sale of the group to a new owner.
Having achieved these goals – culminating in the announcement last year that Alviva Holdings plans to acquire Tarsus – Crisp believes this is an opportune time for him to exit the group.
He will leave this month and hand the reins to a new leader with a fresh mandate.
On Tanner, who had been with Tarsus for 10 years, the company says she is leaving in August to move to a new chapter in her career.
Tarsus is a value-added technology distributor, representing global hardware, software and information security brands.
Established in 1985, the Tarsus group has two main operating subsidiaries: Tarsus Distribution, which owns the South African, Botswana and Namibian IT distribution operations; and Tarsus on Demand, which operates a cloud solutions business.
The company was valued at R185.5-million as at 28 February 2020, the amount which Alviva offered to take over the company.
The resignation of Crisp and Tanner comes a few weeks after Alviva announced it had concluded the takeover of competitor Tarsus in a R185-million deal.
Commenting on the proposed deal, Tarsus said: “Subject to the approval of the Competition Commission, TTG is set to be acquired by Alviva Holdings. The due diligence process has been completed and other suspensive conditions relating to the transaction have been agreed to by Investec Bank and Alviva.”
Alviva said the Tarsus deal was motivated by its plans to expand the current IT distribution businesses into the retail customer segment where it has limited exposure.
Further, Alviva noted its intention to expand its product baskets by adding new vendors and the desire to grow its cloud solutions business also necessitated the deal.
Tarsus’s cloud business is significantly larger than that of Alviva’s.
Alviva said growth plans into Africa also stimulated the takeover, as Tarsus’s African business exceeds R670-million revenue.
By Zeenat Vallie for IOL
Uber Eats has today announced that it acquired South African restaurant technology company owned by venture capital firm Knife Capital, orderTalk.
This acquisition is a major step for Uber Eats which will be able to streamline workflows by directly integrating with leading point of sale (POS) systems.
Knife Capital which leads a business model that sells off companies has sold orderTalk in order to secure significant returns.
“An exit is part of the standard business model for any VC. We invest with the intention to secure significant returns for our entrepreneurs and investors and trade sales are the most common way to generate such returns. The time was right and so was the offer by Uber. It therefore made sense to exit,” says Knife Capital.
orderTalk which is the original provider of online ordering systems for restaurants worldwide, utilises proprietary remote ordering software including mobile and social media applications.
The start-up, which was founded by Hilton Keats in 1998 was backed by an online ordering software development partnership with a United States restaurant chain.
In 2004, lawyer Patrick Eldon joined the group and opened its Cape Town office a year later.
orderTalk then received a R9 million investment in 2008 from Knife Capital which is owned by internet billionaire, Mark Shuttleworth to scale the business internationally.
“Raising capital by way of the investment made by HBD provided enormous value, not only in tangible but also intangible terms. The strategic support, mentoring, advice and hands-on assistance received from HBD and Knife Capital
over the years of the investment have been invaluable”, said CEO of orderTalk, Patrick Eldon.
Although Knife Capital said that they would love to disclose the sale of the acquisition, for strategic reasons from Uber’s side: ‘Terms of the deal were not disclosed’.
“Since they are the main player in this acquisition and not to compromise orderTalk’s new path/ partnership, we respect that and choose not to disclose anything that is not in the public domain”, said Knife Capital.
Meanwhile, the Uber Eats business which works with over 100 000 restaurants in 200 cities in 35 countries said that POS integration on a large scale is challenging. This is the reason they acquired orderTalk.
According to Uber Eats head of business development, Liz Meyerdirk, this acquisition will give rise to greater efficiency and essentially less errors that arise with manual labour and to streamline workflow.
“With orderTalk’s engineering talent and the group of people that we’re acquiring, we’ll be able to supercharge our own point of sale integration strategy,” said Meyerdirk.
Bidvest group, buoyed by a war chest of $1 billion (R12,9-billion), is on the hunt for local and international acquisitions as the company seeks organic and acquisitive growth.
Chief executive Lindsay Ralphs said the company was continuously pursuing select international and local opportunities to complement its existing offerings.
“We have ample headroom to accommodate expansion opportunities. We’d be able to raise $1 billion should we need it, or about R14 billion to R15 billion, and that has been confirmed by a lot of the bankers,” Ralphs said.
The company’s expansion plans come a year after it spun off its food service division, Bidcorp, in a $5 billion listing on the JSE.
In October, Bidvest acquired Brandcorp, a distributor of industrial and consumer products.
The group said the acquisition of Brandcorp contributed R535 million to its revenue and R71 million to its operating profit for the period.
The food service unit accounted for 60 percent of Bidvest’s sales in the six months to the end of December 2015.
The group yesterday reported a 4.4 percent rise in half-year profit.
Headline earnings per share increased to 510.3cents for the six months to December, from 489c in the comparative period.
Revenue rose 4.1 percent to R36 billion, and the company’s trading profit increased by 3.2 percent to R2.8 billion.
Cash generated from operations shot up 30 percent to R1.8 billion.
Bidvest declared an interim dividend of 227c per share.
The company’s seven businesses had mixed results for the period.
The services unit went up 5.2 percent to R6.4 billion, accounting for 27 percent of the company’s trading profit.
The freight business’s revenue decreased by 18.6 percent to R2.4 billion, while the automotive division reported a 1.8 percent increase in revenue to R12.3 billion.
The office and print business’s revenue declined by 1.4 percent to R5 billion.
The financial services unit’s revenue surged by 32.7 percent to R2 billion, while the commercial business’s revenue increased by 24.8 percent to R3.7bn.
The company’s electrical business recorded a marginal increase of 1.9 percent to R2.7 billion.
However, profits of its Namibian business nosedived by 80 percent to R23 million, accounting for just 1 percent of the group’s total trading profit for the period.
Bidvest said this was because of a reduction in fishing quotas. The group owns 52 percent of Bidvest Namibia.
Bidvest shares dropped 1.02 percent on the JSE to close at R163.31.
By Kabelo Khumalo for www.businesslive.co.za