EXCLUSIVE: IT consultant Presidio could go public in 18 months
* Co aims to double annual rev to $2.5 bln in 4 yrs - CEO
* Co 23 pct owned by staff, rest by PE players
By S. John Tilak
BANGALORE, Aug 27 (Reuters) - IT consulting and engineering services firm Presidio Inc could go public in the next 18 months depending on market conditions, but is also open to a sale of itself, its chief executive said. Founded in 2003, the Greenbelt, Maryland-based company deploys and manages technology for customers ranging from retailers to hospitals by partnering with companies such as Cisco Systems (CSCO.O), EMC (EMC.N) and VMware (VMW.N).
Presidio can go public as early as January, CEO Joel Schleicher said, depending on liquidity in the market.
"We run ourselves today as if we were a public company... We essentially are SOX compliant today," said Schleicher, who is also the company's founder, referring to the Sarbanes-Oxley law that requires public companies to adhere to certain reporting guidelines.
Schleicher said he sees Presidio as a potential acquisition target in the wake of its rival Dimension Data DDTJ.J DDT.L being acquired by NTT (9432.T) for $3.2 billion.
The company's other rivals include CDW and Insight Enterprises (NSIT.O), as well as consultants Accenture (ACN.N) and Capgemini (CAPP.PA).
The technology sector is seeing a wave of consolidation as cash-rich companies want to enter new markets and boost their competitive position.
Presidio is seeking to tap the growth of the IT services sector -- projected to reach $786 billion in 2010 by market researcher Gartner -- and trends like datacenter virtualization, which forms about a quarter of its business.
Virtualization lets firms boost the efficiency of computer servers by running dozens of "virtual" machines on a single piece of hardware.
Presidio expects its double-digit growth to continue and aims to more than double its current annual revenue of $1.2 billion over the next 4 years, CEO Schleicher said, adding that the company was profitable.
Nearly a fifth of its revenue comes from its top 25 customers, including Laboratory Corporation of America (LH.N), Norfolk Southern Corp (NSC.N) and Comcast (CMCSA.O).
Employees own 23 percent of Presidio, while the rest is owned by four private equity investors -- Columbia Capital, Oak Investment Partners, Meritech Capital and Halyard Capital.
Raymond James analyst Brian Alexander said if Presidio's revenue continues double-digit growth and touches $2 billion, and EBITDA margins remain in the high-single digits, it could have a market capitalization of $1 billion.
He said valuations were now at depressed levels.
IT services firm CDW, which went private three years ago, had similar financial characteristics as Presidio does and used to trade at mid-to-high-teens earnings multiples, he said.
(Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)
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