UPDATE 1-UK's Anite says in negotiations to sell travel business

Thu Feb 20, 2014 3:43pm EST

By Noor Zainab Hussain

Feb 20 (Reuters) - Anite Plc said it was in negotiations for a potential sale of its travel reservation software business, in line with the company's previously announced strategy to focus on its wireless division.

Anite had said earlier on Thursday that it was considering a sale of its Anite Travel unit, sending the company's shares up 2 percent in late trading on the London Stock Exchange.

"The negotiations are very sensitive", Anite spokesman Reg Hoare told Reuters, declining to provide any further details, including names of potential buyers.

The business accounted for about 15 percent of the company's total revenue of 132.5 million pounds ($221 million) in the year ended April 30.

The sale of the travel business would leave Anite with its wireless network and handset testing businesses, where its client list includes Samsung Electronics and Vodafone.

The company's Chief Executive Christopher Humphrey said last July that Anite was looking to position itself as a global leader in wireless testing software, especially given the increase in investments for the roll-out of 4G networks.

For the past few years, the handset-testing unit has been riding on strong demand for long-term evolution (LTE) 4G products.

To bolster its wireless business, Anite bought network testing products distributor Genetel SAS for 1.5 million euros ($2 million) in July, and radio channel emulator maker Propsim for 31 million euros in January.

Anite in December said it expected the handset-testing business to boost revenue in the second half, after contract delays hurt profit in the first six months.

Anite's shares closed up 2 percent at 88.85 pence on Thursday.