Sale to FI Group nets millions for OSI founders

A DOZEN SENIOR executives at OSI Group, a privately owned business consulting and management support services company, became instant millionaires yesterday after selling out to the IT specialists, FI Group, for pounds 106m in cash and shares.

They include chief executive Fred Evans and David Demetrius, and the marketing expert Harvey Parr, the two founders, who own 15 per cent of OSI. They are retiring and taking mainly cash.

Another 10 members of the core management - who own 45 per cent of the equity - are staying with the enlarged group and taking mainly shares, which they have undertaken not to sell for two years. The 380 members of staff own a further 18 per cent of the shares and all staff are being offered additional options equivalent to one year's salary, which can be exercised and cashed, or rolled over into FI options. More than 40 per cent of the enlarged group will be owned by the executives and employees.

ECI Ventures will cash in most of its 20 per cent stake but retain some FI shares. The cash element of the deal is being financed by a placing of FI shares to raise a further pounds 20m and new pounds 40m borrowing facility with the bank.

OSI operating profits rose 150 per cent to pounds 6.5m before exceptional items in the year to the end of June 1998, and it is expected to achieve a further growth in the current year, in spite of the ending of a large contract, FI's deputy chairman and chief executive Hilary Cropper said yesterday. The two businesses are an exceptionally good fit and should be earnings-enhancing immediately. FI shares jumped 40p to 327.5p.

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