Getronics, Merkantildata Merge Nordic Operations

STOCKHOLM (04/17/2000) - In a deal that promises to create one of the largest IT and communications technologies service providers in the Nordic region, Merkantildata ASA and Getronics NV today announced an agreement to merge their operations in Denmark, Finland and Norway.

Under the terms of the agreement, Oslo-based Merkantildata will acquire Getronics' operations in the Nordic region, including the takeover of some 1,600 staff, in exchange for 20 million new shares that will give the Amsterdam-based services provider an 11 percent ownership stake in Merkantildata, the companies said in a joint statement.

The stock transaction is valued at 1.8 billion Norwegian krone (US$210 million), with each share valued at 90 krone, Merkantildata and Getronics said.

In addition, Getronics also agreed to acquire within the near future some 800 million krone worth of additional Merkantildata shares on the open market, to bring its total stake in the Norwegian company to as high as 20 percent. If Getronics wishes to increase its ownership beyond the 20 percent level, it has committed to offer to purchase all outstanding Merkantildata shares, the statement said.

The deal is expected to be completed in mid-May, the companies said, subject to approval from relevant government and antitrust authorities.

Under the terms of a four-year strategic alliance, Getronics and Merkantildata have also committed to not competing in the Nordic region, as well as naming each other strategic partners and preferred suppliers in servicing international accounts.

The annual turnover of Getronics' operations in the Nordic region is valued at 3 billion krone, although the company has no operations in Sweden, the region's largest market, according to the statement.

Merkantildata will upon completion of the merger see its total number of employees swell to around 6,400 people. Getronics boasts some 34,000 employees in 44 countries.

Late last week, Merkantildata announced a deal valued at 376 million krone under which its Danish subsidiary will acquire all outstanding shares in Ernst & Young Management Consulting A/S. The deal is scheduled to close in late May, Merkantildata said in a separate statement.

Getronics, in Amsterdam, can be reached at +31-20-586-1412, or via the Web at Merkantildata, in Oslo, is at +47-2-209-5000, or at