Geac Computer Corporation
|Fate||acquired by Infor|
|Founded||Toronto, Ontario, Canada (1971)|
|Headquarters||Markham, Ontario, Canada|
|Charles S. Jones (President and CEO),
Kent Jespersen (Chairman)
Donna DeWinter (CFO)
Isobel Harris (VP and GM, Enterprise Solutions),
Jeffrey Snider (SVP and Legal Counsel)
Brian Hartlan (VP, Global Marketing)
|Revenue||$444,400,000 USD (2005)|
Number of employees
Geac Computer Corporation, Ltd (TWSE: GAC and NASDAQ: GEAC) was a producer of enterprise resource planning, performance management, and industry specific software based in Markham, Ontario. It was acquired by Infor Global Solutions in March 2006 for US$1 billion.
Geac was incorporated in March 1971 by Robert Kurt Isserstedt and Robert Angus ("Gus") German.
Geac started with a contract with the Simcoe County Board of Education supply onsite accounting and student scheduling. Geac programmed inexpensive minicomputers to perform tasks that were traditionally done by expensive mainframe computers. Geac designed additional hardware to support multiple simultaneous terminal connections, and with Dr Michael R Sweet developed its own operating system and own programming language (OPL) resulting in an multi-user real-time solution called the Geac 500/800.
The initial implementation of this system at Donlands Dairy in Toronto led to a contract at Vancouver City Savings Credit Union ("Vancity") in Vancouver, BC, to create a real-time multi-branch online banking system. Geac developed hardware and operating system software to link minicomputers together, and integrated multiple-access disk drives, thereby creating a multi-processor minicomputer with a level of protection from data loss. Subsequently, Geac replaced the minicomputers with a proprietary microcoded processor of its own design, resulting in vastly improved software flexibility, reliability, performance, and fault tolerance. This system, called the Geac 8000, was introduced in 1978.
Geac introduced its library management software in 1977, and a number of well-known libraries adopted it. These included the US Library of Congress and the Bibliotheque Nationale de France. In the mid-1980s, it released a suite of office automation apps (calendar, wordprocessor, e-mail, spreadsheet, etc) running on the 8000. This application suite was piloted by the federal Office for Regional Development (ORD - later absorbed by Industry Canada) and later still was used by the NAFTA Trade Negotiations Office. Compared to similar LAN-based office initiatives of the same period, Geac's multi-user minicomputer-based offering provided significantly higher availability. And its software developers were exemplary in fixing bugs promptly and responding to requests for enhancements.
During the 1990s the company successfully embarked on an aggressive acquisition strategy led by Steve Sadler, CEO, and expanded into a wide range of vertical markets, including newspaper publishing, health care, hospitality, property management, and others.
Its 1999 acquisition of JBA Holdings PLC by the new leader, Doug Bergeron, Geac CEO, doubled the size of the company, but became a financial disaster.  Geac’s acquisitions were not aligned to any customer focused strategy: they covered a wide range of products and geographies, and many analysts accused Geac of “financial engineering”.
In the early 2000s, the company faced significant financial issues: in April 2001, the company’s US$225 million credit line was in default, and during FY2001, Geac posted a loss of US$169 million on revenues of US$552 million. Geac updated some of its legacy software replaced its management team, ultimately tapping its Chairman, Charles S. Jones, to be the CEO, Donna DeWinter to be the CFO (Ms. De Winter is currently CEO of Nexient Learning), and made Craig Thorburn the Senior Vice President of Acquisitions (while he was a Partner at Blake, Cassels & Graydon). Geac then paid off its bank loans, and significantly improved its profit margins, and its stock began to increase. It listed on the NASDAQ. It also embarked on a strategy of establishing a single focus for its software products around selling software to the Chief Financial Officer of client organizations. It profitably divested its real estate software operations after making it profitable and a growing business, and acquired two business performance management companies: Comshare (Template:NASDAЙ) and Extensity (NASDAQ: EXTN). Geac also obtained a $150 million credit line and fended off a proxy fight brought by Crescendo Partners. In March 2006, the company was acquired by Infor Global Solutions for US$1 billion, or $11.10 per share, compared to US$1.12 five years earlier, providing the investors a 10x return. In Fiscal 2001, the company posted a US$169.1 million loss, and in fiscal 2005, Geac posted net income of US$77 million.
After it was acquired, several executives of Geac, including CEO Charles S. Jones, left the company to form Bedford Funding, a private equity fund that invests in software companies. While Geac was headquartered in Canada, Mr. Jones lived in Westchester County, NY, and also served on the Board of the Westchester Land Trust, to which he donated over $100,000 in 2006. Mr. Jones would also later donate $100,000 to Iona Preparatory School. Bedford Funding would later make investments in several IT companies, including MDLIVE.
Geac made numerous acquisitions during its existence, including:
- Advanced Business Technologies
- Clarus Corporation (Assets)
- Claymore Systems Group
- Collier-Jackson, Inc.
- Comp-Tech Incorporated
- Control Transaction Corporation
- Convergent Solution Pty. Ltd.
- Cruickshank Technology Pty.
- Cybergraphic Group
- Datamark International Limited
- DDN Holdings Northern Ltd.
- Dun & Bradstreet Software Services
- EBC Informatique
- ECI Computer Inc.
- Fasfax Corporation
- Florida Computer & Network
- FGH Decision Support Systems
- Gazette Technologies
- Hotel Computer Systems Limited
- Hotel Systems Pty. Limited
- JBA Holdings plc
- JBA Italia s.r.l.
- LIBRA Corporation Signature Division
- Management Data GmbH
- Matrix Publishing Systems
- MJC Systems Spol. S.r.o.
- New Tech Hospitality Systems Ltd.
- News Holding/Interealty
- OCS Technology Public Safety Unit
- Perc Technical Services
- Phoenix Systems Ltd.
- Praxa Limited
- Princeton Network Systems
- Pro-Mation, Inc.
- Real Estate Unit, GTE Enterprise
- Remanco International
- RunTime A/S
- Software Shop Systems, Inc.
- Soluzioni Gestionali srl
- Stowe Computing Australia
- Stowe Computing (NZ) Limited
- Technology Services Group
- Tranti Systems Inc.
- TWG Technologies
Products that Geac produced included Anael, Expert & Millennium Server, MPC, RunTime, SmartStream, System21, and VUBIS.
- Globe & Mail, May 14, 2001 - Archived 21 April 2011 at WebCite
- Globe & Mail, May 9, 2000 - Archived 21 April 2011 at WebCite
- Globe & Mail, Aug 24, 2001 - Archived 21 April 2011 at WebCite
- Information Age article - Archived 21 April 2011 at WebCite
- Charles S. Jones Compensation Investigation - Archived 21 April 2011 at WebCite
- CanadaIT, October 15, 2003 - Archived 21 April 2011 at WebCite
- Globe & Mail, June 1, 2001 - Archived 21 April 2011 at WebCite
- Merrill Lynch, June 22, 2004 - Archived 21 April 2011 at WebCite
- WSJ Oct 1, 2001 - Archived 21 April 2011 at WebCite
- Press Release, Feb 4, 2004
- Globe & Mail, Sept 11, 2003 - Archived 21 April 2011 at WebCite
- CIBC, October 3, 2005 - Archived 21 April 2011 at WebCite
- CNet, June 23, 2003 - Archived 21 April 2011 at WebCite
- Official Press Release, Geac Completes Acquisition of Comshare
- NY Times, June 24, 2003 - Archived 21 April 2011 at WebCite
- Informationweek, Aug 27, 2002 - Archived 21 April 2011 at WebCite
- Free Library, August 11, 2005 - Archived 21 April 2011 at WebCite
- Free Library, August 31, 2005 - Archived 21 April 2011 at WebCite
- Globe & Mail, January 21, 2006
-  - Archived 21 April 2011 at WebCite
- Wellington Financial, November 14, 2006 - Archived 21 April 2011 at WebCite
- Westchester Land Trust Annual Report 2006
- Iona Prep Receives Cornerstone Gift in Support of Strategic Expansion Initiatives