Garibaldi Advises In Motion Technology in Announced Sale to Sierra Wireless

Garibaldi Capital Advisors helped the shareholders of In Motion Technology achieve an exit today in the announced sale to local public wireless technology company, Sierra Wireless (TSX:SW). Read the official company press release, here. The deal is expected to close in early March, and is subject to customary closing conditions.

This deal represents the first sizable acquisition for Sierra Wireless since it sold its AirCard business to NetGear in early 2013, pocketing about $145 million in cash. They are now focused on growing their global leadership position in machine to machine (M2M) wireless solutions, and the In Motion acquisition creates unique strength in the key areas of public safety, transit, and fleet management. It also represents an acknowledgement of the tremendous technology and team that In Motion built over the years. Founders Kirk Moir, Larry LeBlanc and Eddie Ho are pleased with the outcome after growing a sizable business (over CAD$16 million in trailing revenue) through some difficult times. The deal represents a big win for the entire In Motion team as the Sierra Wireless HQ is just 15 min away from their existing offices, the buyer having made clear their commitment to continued growth, right here in BC. The company, which sells robust communications gateways to public safety organizations throughout North America, went through the economic downturn which affected public safety purchasing in 2008 and 2009 and then dealt with the tragic death of their CEO, Leonard Hordyk from cancer in 2011. Former BCIC head Dean Rockwell took over as CEO in February 2012 and then steered it through the purchase process with Sierra Wireless.

Local investors BC Advantage Fund and BC Discovery Fund as well as local angels like Greg Peet and Haig Farris were also rewarded with an exit in the cash deal.

This marks a notable “all in BC deal” that we may see more and more in the future, thanks to larger local technology buyers like Sierra Wireless. The last all BC technology deal of note was Telus (Emergis) buying Wolf Medical Systems in Feb 2012 for a rumoured $30 million. To unearth other “all BC” deals of note, you have to go all the way back to the $20 million Uniserve acquisition of Parasun in 2007, and the $365 million acquisition of GT Groupe Telecom by 360 Networks in 2002. So it hasn’t happened often, but we may see more of it in the future.

What was very cool for Garibaldi in this transaction was working across the table with our colleagues at CIBC. It was good to work with people you know well in the industry. Again, with larger local technology companies like Avigilon, Hootsuite and Vision Critical becoming buyers locally, we may have the opportunity again soon.

Congratulations to the shareholders of In Motion and to the team at Sierra Wireless for acquiring a world-leading technology company and continuing to build a global wireless powerhouse right here in BC.

Owls, Unicorns and Narwhals: A Big Year in Technology in BCBreaking through the Ice – The Narwhal Club