First Derivatives zones in on big data

The largest indigenous technology firm in Ireland, First Derivatives, has bought a controlling stake in a US big data vendor in a multi-million euro deal.

The Newry, Co Down-based software and consultancy company has acquired a further 46.5% stake in Kx Systems based in Palo Alto, California.

The deal — which brings the company’s total holding to just over 65% — was agreed for a total consideration of £36m (€45.39m).

The transaction will provide First Derivatives with the “technology stack” to address the increasingly important area of big data — a catch-all term to describe large, complex data sets that are difficult to handle using traditional systems, the company said in a statement to the Irish Stock Exchange yesterday.

While its core focus remains on capital market activities, the deal also provides the company with opportunities to expand into other markets, according to chief executive Brian Conlon.

“Together we look forward to exploiting [the deal’s capabilities] to its full potential as we further penetrate the financial services sectors. We intend to make significant investments in Kx to allow the founders and their team to scale the company while staying true to its heritage,” said Mr Conlon.

To support the financing of the deal and other potential investments First Derivatives has agreed a new five-year loan facility of £24m with Bank of Ireland.

Nine of the 10 biggest global investment banks as well as a number of large hedge funds and regulators are among Kx’s customers.


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