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News : Innovation Last Updated: Oct 19, 2010 - 9:06:53 AM

Trintech sold to US firm for knockdown price of $93m; One of last of Irish high-tech hopes of 1990s bites the dust
By Michael Hennigan, Founder and Editor of Finfacts
Oct 18, 2010 - 6:07:08 AM

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Trintech, the Irish high-tech company has been sold to a US firm for the knockdown price of $93m and its passing marks the last of the great hopes of the 1990s for the development of a significant Irish technology sector.

Trintech which was founded in Dublin in the 1990s by brothers, Cyril and John McGuire, as an online payments systems developer and has been mainly operating from Dallas, Texas, in recent times, announced the sale to a new company called Cerasus II Limited formed by a fund sponsored by Boston-based Spectrum Equity Investors.

Trintech shareholders will receive $6.60 in cash for each Trintech ADS  (American Depository Share), representing a premium of approximately 43% over the closing price of $4.63 on September 20, 2010, the last business day prior to the commencement of the offer period and a premium of approximately 61% over the average Closing Price of $4.11 per Trintech ADS over the last 12 months prior to the commencement of the offer period.

After the dot-com bust, the company moved into development of financial governance, risk management and compliance (GRC) software.

Cyril McGuire, CEO of the Trintech Group said: "We are confident that the acquisition of our business by Spectrum Equity Investors will deliver significant opportunities to our customers, partners and talented team and will further extend our market leading position in the Financial Governance, Risk Management and Compliance (GRC) industry. We believe the acquisition is good for our shareholders as the offer represents an attractive premium relative to our trading history and, as a full cash offer, provides liquidity and value for our shareholders."

McGuire himself will get about $27m.

Earlier this year, Trintech sold off its healthcare division Concuity for $34.5m in cash.

The group reported revenues of $32.5m for the year ended January 31st, 2010, and pretax profits of $2.7m. In the year 2000, revenues were $18.4m and a loss of $12.1m was reported.

Trintech went public on the September 22, 1999 on a same day dual listing on the Nasdaq National Market and German Neuer Markt.

The stock traded at a high of $75 ($300 before a 4 for 1 split   -- see chart above) in 2000 valuing the company at $4.5bn.

In May 2002, the four-for-one share split was announced to avoid delisting from the Nasdaq after its shares traded under $1 for several weeks.

Trintech was among firms such as Iona Technologies, Baltimore Technologies, Parthus, Riverdeep, Datalex and Cognotec, which gave hope in the 1990s that an indigenous Irish high-tech sector could evolve but all these firms have either been subsumed into American businesses, gone bust or are operating on respirators.

Finfacts has in the past commented that this inconvenient record was ignored by policymakers hell-bent on realising dreams of creating a European Silicon Valley in Ireland and funding the fairytale aspiration that large-scale funding of university research would be the solution to mass unemployment.

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