Late on Friday evening, a consortium led by property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz finally agreed a £1.1 billion deal to take over the Somerfield chain of supermarkets (the group has some 814 Somerfield stores and almost 500 Kwik Save outlets). Analysts appear to think the consortium is mainly interested in the group for its high-street properties. If the deal meets with shareholder approval, analysts expect most of Somerfield’s less valuable sites to be auctioned off, followed by a sale and leaseback of the better quality properties (though Tchenguiz was promising to "throw a lot more money" at improving the chain, the Sunday Telegraph reported yesterday – see BBC news item).
Why comment on this acquisition? Well, it may mean a little bit of a shake-up in the workload of two construction collaboration technology businesses. In April this year, Autodesk was celebrating the selection of its Buzzsaw product to manage the delivery of 300 Somerfield projects a year, a deal clinched by Autodesk reseller Excitech. They may well be a little uncertain about the future of that deal now.
Tchenguiz is the major shareholder in embattled rival UK extranet vendor Asite. Assuming he hasn’t got sick of its continued poor financial performance (see 28 September post: ‘Asite books more losses’), he might perhaps look for all those Somerfield projects to be managed using the Asite system instead. This would give Asite’s workload a much-needed boost, but would erase one of Buzzsaw’s few UK case studies.