ACT sells marketing offshoot for pounds 8.15m

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THE computer software and services group ACT has sold its subsidiary Brann Direct Marketing to the management for pounds 8.15m.

The disposal, ACT's second this month, confirms the group's strategy of focusing on financial software products and was welcomed by analysts.

ACT is Britain's leading financial software supplier, a position it has built up with a series of acquisitions made since 1991 with cash from the sale of its Apricot Computers business. George Soros is a new customer and clients include leading financial institutions.

The group's most recent, and biggest, acquisition was its pounds 93.5m purchase of BIS, a software subsidiary, from the New York telecoms company Nynex last July.

BIS is now one of three financial software divisions of ACT. Together these accounted for nearly four-fifths of its pounds 108m turnover in the six months to September.

Brann was a part of BIS, but ACT said direct marketing services clearly did not fit in with the group's strategy. Earlier this month it sold Cablestream, a communications network business, to Siemens for pounds 5m.

Andrew Bryant, a BZW analyst, said: 'It is good to see them disposing of peripheral businesses that were taking up management time.'

Cash from disposals has been used to settle deferred BIS payments early.