BBC journalist tech deal is good news for SCISYS following German acquisition

August 9, 2017

The roll-out of a next-generation news management system by the BBC to thousands of its journalists has boosted Chippenham-based specialist IT group SCISYS following its acquisition of the German firm behind the technology.

Munich-headquartered Annova had a 12-year contract with the BBC to supply its OpenMedia software when SCISYS paid €11.35m (£9.64m) upfront in cash for the firm in January

Now, following the success of live pilots, OpenMedia, pictured, is to be rolled out across the BBC – a milestone that has triggered a €2m earn-out payment for Annova’s shareholders during its financial year to December 31 last year. 

SCISYS, which provides highly specialised software and IT services to organisations across the media, space, defence, and government sectors, said the milestone proved the case for acquiring Annova. SCISYS’ shares rose by just under 5% today to 99p on news of the BBC’s decision.

OpenMedia, which is already used by around 10,000 journalists in newsrooms worldwide, streamlines workflows across TV, radio and online.  The off-the-shelf system brings together huge amounts of content produced on laptops, tablets and mobiles as well as in the studio, making it easier to share content across a range of platforms.

It has been adopted by a number of leading European broadcasters. The BBC says it is expected to save it more than £4m a year when fully operational.

It replaces a system originally commissioned in 1996 when few journalists were using email and modern social media did not exist.

SCISYS CEO Klaus Heidrich said:Congratulations to the entire Annova management and team. We are excited that Annova has successfully achieved this important project milestone in close cooperation with the customer, which supports our assumptions made when evaluating the potential in Annova’s contract with the BBC.

“The team will maintain the momentum as it moves into the so-called transition phase where OpenMedia will be deployed across the BBC. The achievement is testament to the outstanding capabilities and performance of Annova and impressively proves the rationale for this acquisition.”

Annova’s previous shareholders will receive €1.82m in cash, funded from SCISYS’ existing cash resources and bank facilities, with the balance to be satisfied in new SCISYS ordinary shares, subject to a 36-month lock-in. 

Annova, which had earnings of €1.1m on €7.5m revenues in the calendar year 2015/16, employed around 70 people in Munich and London as well as in satellite offices in Cologne, Hamburg, New York, Paris and Singapore ahead of its acquisition by SCISYS.

Sales of OpenMedia software licences are complemented by the sale of professional and consultancy services.

SCISYS employs nearly 450 staff across its offices in Chippenham, Bristol, Leicester and Reading and two in Germany suppling bespoke software systems, and IT-based support services to the space, government, defence and environment sectors.


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