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Software maker Sage buys Spanish rival

British provider of accounting and payroll tools picks up Logic Control, which caters to small and midsize businesses.

    Continuing its streak of bolt-on buys of small and scattered software groups, Sage Group has agreed to pay about $100 million for Logic Control, a Spanish software company.

    The cash transaction provides an exit for British buyout shop Bowmark Capital and two Italian private equity firms: BS Private Equity and Investindustrial.

    The Italian firms financed an $84.6 million (70 million euro) management buyout in December 2001 from Service Point Solutions, a publicly traded software company formerly known as Grupo Picking Pack that had bought the company the year before.

    BS and Investindustrial each own 45 percent of Logic Control, while Bowmark owns 7 percent.

    For Sage, one of the world's largest accounting and payroll software providers, the deal builds on the presence it established in Spain in October 2003, when it bought Grupo SP, and adds 20,000 business management software clients to its roster in the country.

    Uncommon among its European rivals, Sage is acquisitive, mopping up smaller domestic and international rivals as part of its strategy to tailor its software to the regulations of the different countries in which it operates. The company in January paid about $18.8 million (10.3 million pounds) for Swiss software firm Simultan, and in February it paid $18.12 million (10 million pounds) to buy the Symfonia business software unit of Poland's Matrix.pl.

    The addition of Logic Control, which caters to small and midsize businesses, moves Sage further up the client food chain in Spain, where its purchase of Grupo SP gave it a strong presence with companies with 50 employees or less. Logic Control, which was founded in 1971 and is based in the northeastern town of Sabadell, had an operating profit of about $6.9 million on about $51.4 million in 2004 revenue.

    The Spanish company has about $37.5 million in assets.

    Sage did not use advisers on the deal. Logic Control's shareholders turned to Lehman Brothers.

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