Standard Life buys tech firm Focus Solutions for £42m

SAVINGS and investments giant Standard Life yesterday agreed a £42m cash offer for software provider Focus Solutions, its third technology-focused acquisition in 18 months.

The deal is equivalent to 140p per share, about a ten per cent premium on Monday’s closing price of 127.5p and relies on Standard Life acquiring 100 per cent of Focus' shares from investors.

Focus provides technology and consultancy services to financial institutions, including HSBC and Barclays, which allow customers to buy and maintain products on web-based platforms.

Standard Life expects to use Focus' platforms to improve customer service provision “incorporating point of sale, customer relationship management, tax wrapper and investment trading,” it said in a statement.

Shore Capital analyst Eamonn Flanagan said the offer was an extension of Standard Life’s strategy to move its business model to technology-driven, capital-light products and services such as unit trusts and ISAs.

It follows its takeovers of technology providers Vebnet and threesixty.

Flanagan said Focus’s valuation was “not cheap,” but Standard Life had probably targeted it for strategic reasons.

Noble Grossart advised Standard Life and Cavendish Corporate Finance and Capital SCF advised Focus.