Ciber Sells Second European Business To ManpowerGroup For $7 Million

Struggling solution provider Ciber Inc. is selling off another of its non-strategic operations, striking a deal this week to sell its Norway business to employee recruitment services provider ManpowerGroup for $7.0 million.

Ciber disclosed the deal Wednesday in a Form 8-K filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The move comes less than three months after the Greenwood Village, Colo.-based company reached a similar deal to sell Ciber Netherlands, its 400-employee Dutch business, to ManpowerGroup for $25 million.

Milwaukee-based solution provider ManpowerGroup is looking to bolster its professional resourcing and project workforce solutions arm, Experis, through the acquisition of the Norway operations, officially known as Ciber Norge AS.

[Related: Ciber CEO: Return To Growth, Profitability 'Painfully Slow' As Stock Hits All-Time Low]

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The acquisition, which is scheduled to close later this month, pending regulatory approval, will add 130 specialists to ManpowerGroup’s Experis business, helping the company meet a growing demand for its recruiting services that is driving its organic growth.

This acquisition also builds on Manpower's already-significant presence in Norway, which the company has had since opening its first office there in 1952.

Manpower operates its business across four brands - Manpower, Experis, ManpowerGroup Solutions and Right Management – that span thirty locations and employ more than 20,000 people in Norway.

The acquisition "continues to build on the strength of our Experis business in Norway and further accelerates our strategy to shift our business mix towards higher value and professional services," Maalfrid Brath, Managing Director ManpowerGroup Norway, said in a statement.

A spokesperson at ManpowerGroup did not return calls for additional comment by press time.

Following the acquisition, Ciber Norway will be folded into Manpower’s Experis business, a process that Ciber International said it will be involved in until the transition is complete.

"We are pleased to have found a high-quality home for our Norway business with ManpowerGroup/Experis. As a strategic buyer with local operations, we believe they will provide a seamless transition and great continuity and service to our customers and our employees," said Michael Boustridge, president and CEO of Ciber, in a statement.

Ciber reported that it would use the proceeds of the transaction as working capital to reduce its borrowings under its asset-based lending facility with Wells Fargo Bank by approximately $3 million, according to the filing with the SEC.

This latest deal comes about four months after Ciber, No. 43 on the CRN Solution Provider 500 announced plans to sell its Australian business to local management, and less than three months after inking the deal with Manpower to buy Ciber’s operations in the Netherlands.

"The sale of [the business in] Norway follows our strategy to create a much more focused and simplified company, as we have announced," Boustridge said.

Ciber has launched a restructuring plan to divest itself of operations that it considers non-strategic in an effort to focus on its core businesses in the IT staffing, implementation, application modernization, consulting and managed services spaces.

In an interview with CRN, Scott Kozak, Ciber's senior director of investor relations, said that Ciber, ’feels that these divestitures will make the company leaner, smaller and more focused. Ciber expects to strengthen its core competencies, as well as continue to evaluate assets and further assess additional opportunities."

Ciber is looking to exit businesses with low margins, that are over-reliant on subcontractors, or are seen as being susceptible to litigation, Kozak said in an earlier interview with CRN. The company is also looking to rid itself of some ancillary businesses it picked up as part of the 66 acquisitions it made between 1995 and 2010.

Ciber’s business has been troubled lately, with revenue in the first half of 2016 (ending June 30) falling 15 percent year over year to just under $341.0 million and the company reporting a $148.4 million loss for the six-month period. The company's stock bottomed out below $1 per share in May.

Ciber CEO Michael Boustridge has criticized prior management for eliminating the company’s talent services organization recruiting arm, preventing the company from building a pipeline of prospective customers.