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Geac Moves Cybergraphic to Tampa

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Geac Moves Cybergraphic to Tampa

Article excerpt

Geac Computer Corp., Markham, Ontario, has begun integrating Cybergraphic Systems Ltd. As reported here from Nexpo, Geac bought the Melbourne, Australia, newspaper systems developer in June for approximately $10.6 million.

Calling the deal "a very good example of our acquisition strategy," Geac CEO Douglas Bergeron said Cybergraphic "adds significant market share to an existing vertical market," as well as distribution and sales opportunities.

Supplier of newspaper editorial, classified advertising, and page-layout software through offices in Australia, Asia, Europe, and North America, privately held Cybergraphic says its revenues grew more than 20% annually for the past three fiscal years. Customers include major newspaper groups in Australia, the United States, and Canada.

With more than 200 installations in 40 countries, Geac is a publicly traded $550-million business that supplies industry-specific software to 10 vertical markets (e.g., banks, manufacturers, hotels) and cross- industry financial, human-resources, and materials-management applications. (The company will grow substantially with its pending $137.9-million acquisition of London-based JBA Holdings, a $335-million, mid-market, enterprise resource planning software supplier.)

Geac offers publishing business systems strength in North America and business connections to the rest of the world. Cybergraphic has well- received publishing production systems and a strong presence in the Asia- Pacific market, where Geac has no publishing customers. So, in markets and products, says former Cybergraphic managing director Bernard Grinberg, "the overlap is quite small, and the synergy is huge." Citing "complementary technologies and areas of expertise," he says the combined organizations can provide a complete ad system without duplicating production interfaces, rating, and account-management.

In 1995, H&R Block sold its well-known Collier-Jackson (CJ) unit to Geac. The Tampa, Fla.-based newspaper circulation, ad-management, billing, and marketing software supplier is now Geac's Publishing Systems division. Grinberg heads marketing of the division's new production systems (mainly his old firm's products, although Cybergraphic licensed others, including Software Construction Co. archiving and workflow).

"It's new for me," says Grinberg. "I have not had a boss for a while." Geac, he adds, will preserve the Cybergraphic product name and revive its CJ brand.

Calling the purchase of Cybergraphic "a significant step toward our goal of offering end-to-end solutions," Grinberg's boss, Publishing Systems' president Warren Fletcher, says he's had, "as a strategic objective for over two years, the expansion of Geac as a sole-source supplier." Given "the appropriate opportunity," he prefers buying to building.

As for Geac's newer, NT-based VisionShift systems, "I think we can place, over time CJ product in Australasian and Asian markets," Grinberg says. That client-server suite now features a graphical Web-enabled circulation product and an advertising product with a new rating engine and productivity features. (On July 30, Geac bought Matrix Publishing Systems, maker of circulation-distribution systems that Cybergraphic has distributed overseas; see home/news/newshtm/stories/080599n1.htm.)

A few of the small staff at Cybergraphic's offices in Burlington, Mass., were laid off, and the operation is consolidating with Geac Publishing Systems in Tampa.

Grinberg, who finally relocated from Australia to Massachusetts after periodically visiting to run Cybergraphic's U. …

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