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CS Group buy FAST for £10.5m

The Computer Software Group plc (CS Group) has acquired the whole of the issued share capital of FAST Limited for a total consideration of £10.5 million to be satisfied in cash provided by an additional banking facility. At completion FAST Limited had cash resources of £5 million. FAST Limited, which is based in Maidenhead, is a software training, education and membership organisation focussed on software licence compliance. The organisation supports its 2600 members in achieving and maintaining the FAST Standard for Software Compliance (FSSC – 1:2004). The FAST Standard was developed in collaboration with BSI British Standards and also addresses a significant proportion of the requirements of ISO/IEC 19770-1, the International Standard for Software Asset Management. FAST's audited consolidated accounts to 28 February 2007 recorded sales of £7.0 million and EBITA of £1.5 million. The net assets of FAST Limited at 28 February 2007 were £1.2 million. The Chief Executive, Geoff Webster, and Finance Director, Tracey Baldwin, will both resign from the business upon acquisition.

Commenting on the acquisition, Vin Murria, Chief Executive of CS Group, said:
“CS Group believes that IT compliance is an important component of business risk management for businesses of any size. FAST's structured methodology complements our existing compliance technology, which includes training and Lexcel legal compliance. Furthermore, our expanded solution portfolio will enable us to provide compliance benefits to a wide range of customers and sectors in particular the Legal and Not for Profit sectors.”

There will be additional coverage in the next issue of Legal Technology Insider.

3 replies on “CS Group buy FAST for £10.5m”

FAST were always the organisation that was supposed to help companies implement “best practice” as far as software licencing was concerned.
Should we be concerned that the company that now owns this business is a software publisher in its own right?
The implied threat from FAST was that if you did not implement their procedures you could (in theory at least) be subject to investigation. I guess some companies can be fairly certain that they will not be investigated now whilst others may be expecting a knock on the door!

Charles Christian writes: this comment has been passed on by the IT director of a large Northern law firm…
I thought I'd anonymously contribute my own experience of FAST – this happened maybe two years ago when I was Head of IT here.
I got a call from FAST saying they were coming in, what date would suit me in the next two weeks? Not a request…
Like a lot of us I may not be completely on the ball on every subject all of the time, so I accepted an appointment thinking this was akin to the tv licence scenario.
When they emailled me to confirm, they sent an agenda. All of it was about their products and chargeable services.
A quick look on the website confirmed what was a sales appointment.
I cancelled, considerably annoyed, and have vowed not to have them in the door, ever.

I too had a similar experience with FAST a couple of years ago. What was supposed to be a meeting with them at my offices about software compliancy quickly turned into a very heavy sales pitch. When I politely told the “salesman” I wasn't interested as we had electronic auditing procedures already in place, he turned somewhat aggresive and advised me in no uncertain terms he couldnt guarantee I wouldnt get a knock on the door in the very near future from one of his compliancy team! Needless to say he left my offices shortly after his less than professional conduct.

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