In an unexpected twist to its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, troubled IT consulting firm Ciber said a $93 million bid from HTC Global Ventures had won a U.S. Bankruptcy Court auction to buy the company.
Ciber, No. 43 on the CRN Solution Provider 500, announced Troy, Mich.-based HTC's winning bid in a court filing Thursday, and the companies won approval for the deal before a bankruptcy court judge Friday.
HTC's $93 million bid vastly exceeds the $50 million "stalking horse" agreement Ciber reached with Paris-based Capgemini in April when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. That bid would've bought Ciber's $275 million North America and India business and was always subject to other offers. Ciber chose Capgemini as the "backup bidder" in the current transaction, according to the court filing.
Capgemini CEO Paul Hermelin said late last month that his company's IT consulting unit had considered Ciber an acquisition target for years. Hermelin said he hoped Capgemini, No. 6 on the CRN Solution Provider 500, could turn Ciber around by restructuring its assets and folding it into its Sogeti IT and professional services division. Before HTC's winning bid, Capgemini had expected to close an acquisition of Ciber by the end of June.
The buy would've helped Capgemini increase its presence, and strengthen its ability to deliver to clients, in the U.S. technology and engineering services market.
Ciber's stock was up sharply Friday, to $0.12 a share.
Ciber was at one time an international IT services giant, but on the hook to repay $28.2 million to Wells Fargo by the end of March, it had been slashing employees and selling off business units – mainly in Europe – since late 2014. The company's CEO Michael Boustridge took that position in 2014 when former CEO Dave Peterschmidt retired amid the company's extensive restructuring efforts.
In recent years, HTC has followed an aggressive growth strategy that aims to make the firm's services business, No. 180 on CRN's Solution Provider 500, a $1 billion company by 2020.
Ciber, Capgemini, and HTC Global did not comment for this story before press time.