Baltimore Technologies has begun the break-up of its assets with the £8.3m sterling sale of its SelectAccess division to Hewlett-Packard.
Baltimore, once valued at €10bn and a key FTSE100 player, is now worth less than €50m and employs 250 people compared to the 1,500 people it employed at the height of its fame.
In recent months, the company signalled its plans to sell up as the expansion plans embarked upon four years ago have failed to stimulate growth.
In a statement issued this afternoon to the London Stock Exchange, the company said that the sale will be subject to approval by Baltimore’s shareholders at an Extraordinary General Meeting, and a circular and notice of the extraordinary general meeting will be sent shortly.
Bijan Khezri, CEO of Baltimore Technologies, commented: “This transaction represents an exceptional opportunity for our shareholders and is a key step towards maximising shareholder value. We are particularly pleased to see HP taking the SelectAccess product forward as we believe they are well positioned to exploit the technology’s potential. It will reinforce HP’s ability to offer superior infrastructure security for the benefit of customers and employees. We remain committed to achieving the best possible outcome for all our stakeholders regarding the remaining parts of our business.”
Baltimore announced at the annual general meeting on 22 May 2003 that it was commencing a controlled sale process to select a strategic partner for the whole of the business. In this afternoon’s statement, the company said: “Whilst this process is still ongoing, the board has decided that the disposal of SelectAccess to HP represents significant additional value to shareholders and assists in maximising the overall return for shareholders. Subject to the announced agreement, Baltimore continues to remain in discussions regarding offers for the whole of the company, as well as several offers regarding specific parts of the company.”
The SelectAcess division was acquired in October 2000 in an all-share deal valued at £29m sterling from Canadian company Nevex Software. It is understood that as part of the sale, some 30 staff working in the SelectAccess division will transfer to Hewlett-Packard. This will leave 80 staff remaining at Baltimore’s Dublin offices.
By John Kennedy