Fort George based software firm Biznet sold last year to keep staff

The Fort George Science Park.
The Fort George Science Park.

A long-standing Londonderry software firm based at the Science Park in Fort George was sold late last year after bosses met Invest NI officials at Deane’s restaurant in Belfast to say the company needed investment to “grow and continue to retain staff.”

Biznet Solutions, a leading specialist in Supplier Performance Management (SPM) software and consultancy, since 1999, was bought by another SPM specialist, NiSoft, over the winter.

According to the latter company: “Biznet Solutions, a world leader in SPM has become part of the NiSoft family following an aquisition of the company in late 2015.”

Now details of an Invest NI “catch-up meeting” that took place in Deane’s, Belfast, before the sale have been released under the Freedom of Information legislation.

A note of the meeting, which took place on November 12 last year, reveal Biznet management believed selling the 16 year old company was the only way forward following consultations with corporate finance specialists Keenan CF.

The note shows the meeting was attended by Gabriel Mooney of Invest NI, and a representative of Biznet, whose identity has been redacted from the released document.

The identity of another Invest NI official is also unknown due to a redaction.

But the document does reveal that the Biznet representative “informed Invest NI that the company’s board had decided to accept an offer for the company from another Northern Ireland company following a search for new investment completed by Keenan CF.”

This company later transpired to be the Belfast based NiSoft.

The Biznet representative “informed Invest NI that they were likely to receive written notification of this, along with details of the proposed sale, in the coming days.

“Invest NI enquired as to the rationale behind the sale and [the unknown Biznet representative] explained that the company needed new investment in order to grow and continue to retain staff, and that the proposed sale offered the best opportunity to achieve that.”

The note also shows that Invest NI asked how many offers were received by Keenan CF but this information has also been redacted by Invest NI.

The note concludes that Invest NI would await receipt of the sale documentation, which it presumably received, before the take-over was officially announced by NiSoft earlier this year.

Documents filed with Companies House show that NiSoft Chief Executive Officer Doug Deardorf was appointed as a director of the Fort George-based company on January 11, 2016.

NiSoft has bases on the Ravenhill Road in Belfast, in Centennial, Colorado, as well as in Singapore.