So what happens next, following this week’s announcement that British Telecommunications has launched a £64 million takeover bid for the UK’s AIM-listed Tikit Group? Strictly speaking we should say ‘if’ the deal goes ahead, as it still needs to go jump through some legal hoops before it is finalised and comes into effect on 18th January. However, we spoke to Simon Hill of Tikit and David Hobday, along with Steve Hall, of BT to hear what their plans are, assuming the deal does go ahead.
Hobday explained that Tikit would not vanish into the maw of BT but would instead become part of the BT Enterprises division (note the plural ‘Enterprises’) as distinct from the part of BT that deals with large enterprise customers. BT Enterprises is currently a group of six discrete businesses, each with their own CEOs, that are effectively left to run their own destinies. Probably the most comparable business to Tikit is BT Expedite which provides technology and software services, including point-of-sale and payment systems, to the retail sector. Hobday said that when BT acquired Expedite some four years ago, it was in a similar position to Tikit but, by “fostering and nurturing” the company, it has grown into a much bigger and higher grade business. The secret, added Hobday, is to allow companies like Expedite (and Tikit) to retain their entrepreneurial spirit.
Simon Hill said the deal was good news for Tikit as a company, as it combined the best of enterprise culture with the benefits of being part of the larger BT group. He added that it was also well-timed good news for law firms, many of which were still uncomfortable with the concepts of cloud, managed services and support for flexible working/BYOD because of concerns about the viability of the cloud services providers within the legal marketspace. With BT offering a scale of security and robustness in its cloud hosting and server infrastructure that already met the approval of HMG and the MoD, “Tikit can offer a bridge into this world, delivering a greater degree of certainty” than has previously been available from other vendors in the UK legal market.
Hobday said BT “were genuinely excited about the Tikit deal… we don’t make a lot of acquisitions but we believe the size and scale of BT, combined with Tikit’s ability to tailor products for the legal and professional services sectors, is exactly what the market is looking for.”