Schlumberger ousts EDS to buy Sema

Despite weekend reports that EDS had entered the fray, this morning Sema signed a 560p per share deal with Schlumberger, which it expects to be completed by the second quarter of 2001.

Sema’s share value has more than halved since it issued two profits warnings last November after being hit by poor financial results from German software house LHS, which it acquired last June.

However, this morning shares surged on the back of rumours that a deal was close to being finalised, jumping 16 per cent from 475p to 551p.

Schlumberger has recently been acquiring technology companies in an attempt to expand its oilfield business into new services. It has not yet said whether it plans to keep Sema or spin off its various outsourcing, telecomms and disaster recovery divisions.

When the takeover was first mooted last week, analysts said Sema would be worth more split up and that only one of the giant IT services companies, such as EDS, could absorb Sema whole.

Schlumberger today also announced the final signing of an Euro 350m (Pounds 224m) plus royalties agreement to buy Bull’s smartcard operation, Bull CP8.


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