French IT services outfit Groupe Steria has agreed terms to acquire Xansa following a proposed cash-only offer of £472m for the rival Reading-based firm.
Shares in Xansa leapt by more than a fifth following the outsourcing group's recommendation of the 130 pence a share offer from Steria.
That figure represents a shareholder premium of approximately 70 per cent based on the closing price per share on 26 July, the last business day before the firm announced it was in advanced talks with Steria.
The takeover is expected to complete by the end of October and the agreement could see Xansa staff, which hold 16 per cent of the firm's capital in a series of trusts, pocket tens of millions of pounds.
Xansa has about 4,000 staff in Britain and more than 5,000 employees in India. It has contracts with both private and public sector organisations in the UK, including the likes of Barclays, the NHS, and the BBC.
Steria said the agreement reflected its desire to step-up its presence in the UK IT services market and it hopes to be among the top 10 leading outsourcing companies in Europe, post-acquisition.
It said the takeover should see the combined group deliver total pre-tax synergies of around €24 next year, €49m in 2008, and €53m from 2010 onwards at a cost of some €49m over two years.
Xansa chairman and acting chief executive Bill Alexander said: "We are confident that our recommendation is in the best interests of Xansa shareholders and offers an opportunity for our employees to be part of a culturally-aligned, pan-European company able to leverage our integrated onshore/offshore model."
Xansa is currently trading at 126 pence a share on the London Stock Exhange, down 0.2 per cent on the initial jump following the announcement.
The firm's full statement is here (pdf). ®