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21 November, 2018 - 10:25 By Tony Quested

Ubisense disposal gives birth to potential new global software giant

Executives at Cambridge location technology business Ubisense believe they have lit the touchpaper to creating a potential new global leader in geospatial software after a £35 million disposal of the company’s RTLS SmartSpace unit along with the Ubisense brand.

Ubisense has conditionally agreed the sale to a company owned and controlled by funds managed or advised by Investcorp Technology Partners, an affiliate of Investcorp Bank B.S.C which operates worldwide from a mother ship in the Gulf.

CEO Richard Petti said the move would allow Ubisense to develop its retained IQGeo business into an international power player and trigger another tech first from the Cambridge Cluster.

Professionals who advised on the disposal also believe the reborn SmartSpace business could also be propelled into another Cambridge tech great – bringing a double payback from the transaction.

Richard Petti said: “This is an extremely positive change for both the RTLS SmartSpace and the IQGeo divisions which the board believes is in the long-term best interests of both businesses.

“The proceeds will allow us to refocus and re-brand the retained business as IQGeo and to invest in its myWorld software business which has a significant market opportunity providing solutions to some of largest telecoms and utilities suppliers in the world.

“As I look ahead to the potential for IQGeo, I am excited about the prospect of building on the success of our myWorld enterprise software which has increased revenues by a CAGR of more than 35 per cent since 2015.

“We have an excellent existing customer base across our target markets and a growing pipeline of new opportunities driven by worldwide growth in fibre broadband and 5G technology. From day one, the mission of the IQGeo team will be to build on existing foundations to create a global software business, with high levels of recurring revenues, high margins and strong cash flows.”

The UK stockmarket loved the deal, sending the shares more than 17 per cent higher and edging closer towards the 52-week high.

The reborn Cambridge end of the business will be branded IQGeo Group plc on completion of the sale working with telecoms and utilities companies worldwide.

In the audited results for the year ended December 31, Ubisense’s IQGeo business generated revenue of £16.5 million and in the unaudited first half results for the period ending June 30, it generated revenue of £5.7m.

Part of the consideration from the disposal of Ubisense’s SmartSpace iteration will be used to continue the globalisation of IQGeo, in particular in markets where fibre broadband and 5G investments are expected to increase significantly over the next five years.

Following the sale, the board intends to return excess funds to shareholders  and will keep them posted regarding the amount. The shares of IQGeo will trade on AIM under the ticker IQG. Cambridge professional services duo KPMG and Mills & Reeve advised Ubisense in the deal. Chris Wilson, Corporate Finance director with KPMG’s Cambridge practice said: We acted as sole financial provider. SmartSpace is an incredibly exciting business which is helping to create the smart factories of the future.

“Both Ubisense and SmartSpace are a hugely important part of Cambridge’s world-renowned technology ecosystem and this deal will help to propel both companies on the next stage of their growth journeys. As a local team, we are excited to see what this investment will bring as Cambridge continues to cement its reputation for producing innovative disruptive businesses of the future.”

A team at Mills & Reeve, led by Corporate Finance partner and equity capital markets specialist, Stephen Hamilton, is acting as legal adviser to Ubisense on the restructuring and sale.

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