On Wednesday this week (28th July) our position in Belgium’s Akka Technologies soared by 95 % on news that management had agreed a takeover bid by Adecco Group, the Swiss recruiter, for €49 a share. The offer values Akka at an enterprise value of €2bn. Prior to the takeover, Columbus held 3% in Akka, representing one of our top 10 positions.

Strategically the deal appears to make sense as combining Akka with Adecco’s engineering and IT consultancy subsidiary, Modis, will create a powerhouse in the sector, just behind the industry leader, Capgemini. Adecco see considerable cost and revenue synergies from the deal and appreciate the growth potential inherent in this industry which was largely being ignored by investors for Akka as an independent group.

Both groups are strong proponents of the growing importance of ‘Smart industry’ for accelerating innovation and returns for their customers. In the words of Jan Gupta, President of Modis, “Smart Industry is where IT and engineering technologies converge into a digital and connected world, and we look forward to joining forces with Akka, combining their excellent market reputation in engineering with Modis’ strong digital experience.”

At Columbus we see the deal as a vindication of our belief in the business which has at times been controversial and suffered several setbacks during our holding period. After weakness in the stock last year, we reviewed the holding and increased our position, leading to Akka being in our top 10 positions at the time of the takeover. Our view is that investing is an occupation where conviction and patience are important, and we should celebrate when the two are well rewarded.

(Source of the image: Wikimedia)