Triton makes 3.9 billion crown bid for Swedish IT consultant HiQ

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Private equity firm Triton on Wednesday announced a 3.9 billion crown ($445 million) cash bid for IT consultancy firm HiQ International, a 25% premium to the company’s closing price on Tuesday.

Triton said the bid of 70 crowns per share was conditional on reaching an acceptance level of at least 70%.

“HiQ has the opportunity to develop into a Northern European leader by building on its unique platforms... as well as its industry leading innovation, industrial and technology expertise,” Triton’s Head of Nordics Thomas Hofvenstam said in a statement.

“This would, however, require significant, long-term investments over several years.”

HiQ’s business, which includes the public as well as industrial, telecom and automotive sectors, has remained fairly resilient throughout the pandemic.

Its sales fell 8% to 439 million crowns in the second quarter while its adjusted operating profit was down 12%, the falls curbed by accelerating digitalisation at many companies and public authorities.

“The pandemic has not been a big factor in our interest in the company and for us now making a bid,” Hofvenstam told Reuters.

“But this is a sector where we have seen a continuing demand, and the digitalization will of course keep going.”

HiQ’s shares are up 8% this year, and up 80% since March lows.

Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom; editing by Jason Neely