SYDNEY -- Organic growth is just one way a company can expand. Acquisitions are another way. Companies can take over direct competitors, businesses providing similar products and services, or companies totally outside their core competency. The aim, of course, is to boost revenue and profit without paying too much for that added growth.
There are many risks associated with acquisitions, including overpaying. One of the main methods of reducing risk is to acquire companies that are in the same field and have a similar business focus and culture.
There have been a host of high-profile acquisitions lately, including Metcash's expansion into auto parts. But here are four you probably haven't heard about.
Blackmores Limited (ASX: BKL.AX) announced on July 2 that it was paying up to AU$40 million to acquire FIT-Bioceuticals, which provides nutritional supplements primarily to alternative-health professionals, such as naturopaths. According to Blackmores, BioCeuticals' range of products will complement its own and give the company greater distribution-channel diversity. Bioceuticals CEO Sean Hall said that both companies focus on nurturing an innovative, "family" culture, and both have strong leadership positions in their markets.
In 2011, Bioceuticals made AU$38 million in sales and earned AU$4.6 million in earnings before tax, depreciation, and amortisation. Blackmores is funding the acquisition from existing debt facilities.
BigAir Group Limited (ASX: BGL.AX) also released an acquisition announcement yesterday. The company reported that it was acquiring fixed wireless network operator Link Innovations for between AU$1.75 million and AU$2.75 million, dependent on the performance of Link in financial years 2013 and 2014.
Link appears to be a complementary service to BigAir, providing a similar service to similar clients -- that is, it's a high-speed fixed wireless network with high-quality corporate customers. Link is expected to contribute between AU$2.4 million and AU$2.8 million in revenue in fiscal 2013. BigAir has also reported that the acquisition is expected to deliver significant cost, capital expenditure, and revenue synergies.
BigAir is funding the acquisition from existing cash reserves and future cash flows.
Cardno Limited (ASX: CDD.AX) announced two acquisitions today: Marshall Miller & Associates, a U.S. mining, energy, and environmental consulting firm; and EM-Assist, a U.S. environmental and compliance management firm. Both U.S. businesses appear to have similar proficiencies to Cardno, an infrastructure and environmental services company.
Cardno is paying up to $31 million for MM&A and up to AU$14.25 million for EM-Assist. Both acquisitions will be funded mainly from cash, with the remainder from new shares.
Reckon Limited (ASX: RKN.AX) reported today that it was acquiring U.K. company Linden House Software. Linden develops and distributes products including document-management solution Virtual Cabinet and Virtual Portal, a client portal solution that allows businesses to collaborate online. Linden's products are sold to a variety of clients with the strongest presence in accounting practices, financial-service providers, and insurance companies. They will be integrated with Reckon's existing product suite.
According to Reckon's CEO, Linden's products will round off many of the company's software solutions and provide a good future opportunity for Reckon. The price will be based on the performance of Linden over the next three years and is expected to fall between AU$9 million and AU$22 million.
The Foolish bottom line
Some companies excel at integrating acquisitions into their business, extracting cost savings, and increasing revenue and profit. QBE Insurance Group is one such company, with many successful acquisitions over the last few years.
It's yet to be proven whether the above three companies have made the right move.
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Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King owns shares in QBE. The Motley Fool's purpose is to help the world invest, better. Take Stock is The Motley Fool's free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead. Click here now to request your free subscription, whilst it's still available. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorized by Bruce Jackson.
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