Keystone Moves into U.S. Market

AUCKLAND (04/14/2000) - New Zealand-founded and U.K.-listed legal practice software company Keystone Software PLC is moving into the U.S. market.

Newly-formed subsidiary Keystone Solutions U.S. has agreed to acquire the software division of U.S.-based BISPoint Technologies for US$8 million, funded in part by a placement on the secondary Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in London.

The placing of 3,842,422 ordinary shares at 70 U.K. pence (US$1.11) per share to existing institutional and other investors has raised 2.4 million pounds sterling, net of expenses. The placement has been fully underwritten by Investec Bank (U.K.. The balance -- about 2.6 million pounds -- will come from funds secured by Keystone's recent successful placement and open offer for 7.8 million pounds net.

"We're confident that when merged with Keystone's international products and resources, the BISPoint acquisition will considerably lower our cost of entry in the U.S. market," says CEO Graeme Frost.

He says Keystone will continue support for BISPoint's existing products, installed at more than 200 legal and professional services firms across North America.

"The best of BISPoint's technology will be merged with Keystone, giving existing BISPoint clients easy entry and transition to a complete and fully-integrated practice, business and client management solution," Frost says.

Keystone's international director of marketing, Kaye Sycamore, says Keystone had been looking for a "jump start" into the high-growth U.S. professional services software market, building on success in the U.K. and Australasian legal markets.

"The BISPoint acquisition gives us that jump start," she says. "We get an instant infrastructure of 60-plus people and U.S. offices, a solid client list and a new 'killer app', LegalHouse, which has already been sold to 25 of the top U.S. law firms."

The application is a suite of business intelligence (financial analysis, modelling and reporting) software which will be rebranded under the Keystone umbrella as Keystone Net Results.

Keystone has also formed an Australian subsidiary. It is seeking suitable office space in Sydney before announcing a start-up date.

"Our implementation partnership with Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, allied with our Australian distributor, BHL Systems, has laid the foundations for substantial business expansion," Sycamore says.

Keystone's software is either implemented or being implemented at five of the top nine Australian legal firms.

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