Tuesday, September 16, 2014

There Is Something Pretty Odd Going On With Standards Australia And The Sale Of SAI-Global.

First a little background. SAI-Global is an ASX Listed company that has a long term license to sell Standards Documentation that us created by a huge range of organisations from that include the Australian Dental Association, the Australian Nursing Federation and Midwifery Federation, the Australian Steel Institute, Master Plumbers Australia and Telstra Corporation, among many others including some e-Health entities.
One set of publications are those created by Standards Australia’s IT-14 Committee which manages e-Health Standards in Australia.
Here is the relevant Standards Australia web site.
Close reading of this web site reveals that there has been no activity or work-planning since June 30, 2014 Additionally there has not been any Standards published since May 2014.
Over the last few years Australian e-Health Standards have been developed by volunteers (often pushed and maybe dominated by NEHTA ) and have had the publication sponsored by the Department of Health (It is not clear if this is happening after June 30 this year).
So maybe co-incidentally, or not, we now have the publisher of standards under offer by two private equity (PE) groups who seem to be offering up to $A 1 Billion for what is a monopoly publishing business.
Not surprisingly Standards Australia are a little concerned, as they see the potential for some profiteering. See this report.

SAI Global blocks buyer talks with Standards body as $1bn bids heat up

Simon Evans
Takeover target SAI Global has refused requests by private equity bidders and other potential buyers for official permission to speak to Standards Australia, which has an influence on the future profitability of a lucrative contract held by SAI.
SAI is understood to have reinforced to potential bidders that all of the pertinent information about the contract it currently holds with Standards Australia – under which SAI sells and publishes around 7000 standards on behalf of Standards Australia – is contained in the data room for potential buyers.
It has refused requests by potential bidders for official permission to speak to Standards Australia, itself an unlisted not-for-profit company that has a membership base of 74 organisations from a range of different industries.
Lots more here:
Indeed, so worried is Standards Australia that they might try to take SAI Global over themselves.

Standards Australia in surprise last-ditch buyout bid in SAI takeover tussle

Simon Evans and Sarah Thompson
Standards Australia, an organisation controlled by 74 member bodies including the Australian Dental Association and Master Plumbers Australia has, made a last-ditch approach to takeover target SAI Global, seeking to buy back a lucrative part of the business.
But the approach, understood to be preliminary, has come too late for Standards Australia to be admitted into the data room because deadlines for final offers for SAI Global are due on September 12 as private-equity bidders circle.
Standards Australia is understood to have made a pitch to buy back the lucrative Publishing Licensing Agreement business, a major profit contributor in SAI’s information services division. The division made up more than half SAI’s total earnings before interest and tax of $72.6 million for 2013-14.
Lots more here:
Blind Freddy can pick that is a PE group gets hold of these publication rights there is a real chance of sudden price increases!
So - right now - e-Health Standards setting seems to have stopped and the costs seem to be at considerable risk of going up. This all just adds to the disillusionment of most volunteers who have worked for IT-14.
Additionally there seem now to be some uncertainty as to how things will play out with SAI-Global in private hands.
Rumours and other intelligence more than welcome.


Anonymous said...

Its a little concerning that a company with a basic mission of providing standards to ensure public safety is worth anything like a billion dollars. It would suggest that there is something very rotten going on. The people developing the standards are not paid and actually pay their own expenses to attend meetings. If the results of that effort are worth a billion dollars then they are essentially delivering pdfs produced as a result of volunteer effort at a huge markup, or they are publishing standards approved because someone is prepared to pay for favor.

NEHTA and DOHA fall into this category, with a model of funding for approval of pet standards (even if they are not fit for purpose)

Perhaps we will also see Telstra generating commercial advantage from their PET telco standards, James Hardie for building material advantage...

This has a very bad smell, but there has been a bad smell building for some time within Standards Australia.

There must be a whistle blower somewhere who knows

Anonymous said...

Gremlins. I think it's all about gremlins or ofher extra-terrestial beings invading the e-sphere.