Wholly-Owned Subsidiary of Vedior N.V.
Sales: $166.3 million (1999)
NAIC: 56132 Temporary Help Services; 56131 Employment Placement Agencies; 41612 Human Resources and Executive Search Consulting Services
Acsys, Inc., headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, is now a division of Vedior N.V. Located in the Netherlands, Vedior is the largest staffing company in the world. As its subsidiary, Acsys provides professional staffing services throughout the United States. Through 40 offices, it serves 22 major metropolitan markets nationwide. It is the nation’s second largest accounting and finance staffing firm among those deriving more than 50 percent of their revenues from accounting and finance staffing services. Among its principal clients are telecommunication, consumer product, healthcare, financial service, industrial, media, retail, technology, and professional service companies, many of which outsource whole portions of their information and finance processing departments to Acsys. A recent trend, outsourcing has increased the demand for the kinds of temporary staffing services that Acsys provides. In 1999, more than 80 percent of the company’s business consisted of finance and IT (information technology) temporary staffing services. Until purchased by Vedior’s affiliate, Tiberia, in 2000, the company was public and traded on AMEX under the symbol AYS.
1974-97: Acsys, Inc. Is Created
Acsys, Inc. did not actually come into existence until March 1997, when, in effect, a consortium of accounting and finance professional staffing companies agreed to merge into it. Its aim was to build a national specialty staffing business for Fortune 1000 and middle-market companies as well as governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations. Its basic plan was to acquire existing companies that would provide a network of offices in major metropolitan centers across the United States.
Within a brief span, the company acquired seven companies, none of which was very old. They had an average operating history of just 15 years, with the oldest ones dating back 23 years and the youngest just five years. However, Acys, Inc.’s principal lineage can be traced back to 1980, when the chief architect of Acys, Inc., David C. Cooper, formed David C. Cooper & Associates, a company which started up in Atlanta in that year. Cooper founded his firm to provide financial search and staffing services, and from the outset served as its president and CEO. A native of Georgia, Cooper received his education in that state, eventually earning a Bachelors of Business Administration degree at the University of Georgia. In addition to serving in his company’s executive posts, for six years Cooper served as president of the American Association of Finance and Accounting (AAFA), a national organization of independently-owned accounting and finance staffing companies. In fact, its was at a 1996 Scottsdale, Arizona, convention of the AAFA that Cooper and his colleagues conceived of the new company that would become a reality as Acys, Inc.
Over the years, Cooper built his company into a very successful temporary and permanent staffing service for clients who were primarily Fortune 1000 and middle-market employers. At the time Cooper & Associates merged with and into Acsys, Inc., the company was producing $7.8 million in staffing service revenues. It also had a subsidiary company, DCCA Professional Temporaries, Inc., which became part of the merger package when Acsys, Inc. was formed.
Three of the first companies making up Acsys, Inc. were a few years older than Cooper’s firm. The most senior of the group were Infinity Enterprises, Inc. and EKT, Inc., both established in 1974. Infinity, which did business as Don Richards Associates of Washington, had offices in Washington, D.C.; Bethesda, Maryland; and Tyson’s Corner, Virginia. It brought with it annual revenues from its staffing services of $17.0 million. EKT, which conducted business as Don Richards Associates of Charlotte, had its headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina. Its revenue had reached $2.8 million in fiscal 1996.
One other company, AcSys Resources, Inc., was also older than Cooper’s firm. It dated back to 1977. From its seven offices located in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, AcSys had generated annual revenues of $14.4 million before being merged into Acsys, Inc.
The remaining three companies acquired by Acsys, Inc. in its first half year of its existence were younger than David C. Cooper & Associates. These included C.P.A. Staffing, Inc.; Rylan Forbes Consulting Group, Inc.; and Cama of Tampa, Inc. C.P.A Staffing and its sister companies, C.P.A. Search, Inc. and Career Placement Associates, Inc., based in Atlanta, had a combined revenue of $6.5 million in 1996. These companies were acquired by AcSys Resources and merged into C.P.A. Staffing, Inc. before Acsys, Inc. acquired AcSys Resources. C.P.A. Staffing provided temporary and permanent staffing services to Fortune 1000 and middle-market companies. Rylan Forbes, a temporary staffing service with offices in Philadelphia and Edison, New Jersey, was founded in 1992. By the time Acsys, Inc. brought it under its corporate umbrella, Rylan Forbes had reached $1.4 million in annual revenues. Cama of Tampa, Inc., which conducted business as Don Richard Associates of Tampa, was first opened in 1987. Its gross income for 1996 was $2.5 million.
At the time Acys, Inc. was formed in March 1997, it established its headquarters at 2000 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., in Washington, D.C. It was there, within the next two months, that it created its core business. The nucleus of Acsys, Inc. initially consisted of the four companies that it acquired in May of 1997: David C. Cooper & Associates; Don Richards Associates of Washington; Don Richards Associates of Charlotte; and Don Richards Associates of Tampa. The “Don Richards Associates” name was a registered trademark of Don Richards Associate International, Inc., an unaffiliated company. Acsys purchased the rights to use the name so that the companies could continue to operate under it in the areas where they were already established. However, the right to use the name “Don Richard Associates of Tampa” carried a May 1999 expiration date.
1998-99: Acquisitions Spur Company’s Growth
By September 1997, Acsys had added the other three companies identified above. The company had also started making plans for going public. It did so in February 1998, but not before it had already operated successfully for almost a year without making any definite commitments to float stock. It had considerable promise, however, and was able to acquire other companies via stock mergers without even providing guarantees that its executives would benefit from a public offering. When floated, the IPO totaled 2.84 million shares of common stock and netted $20.1 million, which helped offset the cost of the company’s acquisitions and spurred additional purchases. Altogether, between its formation in March 1997 and September 1998, Acsys acquired 10 other accounting and finance staffing companies.
In September, 1997, in its merger with Acsys Resources, Acsys, Inc. had gained a base on which to build information technology (IT) staffing services. Like the other acquired companies, Acsys Resources provided temporary staffing and permanent placement services to similar clientele, but it also offered IT staffing services. So did another of the company’s acquisitions, Icon Search and Consulting Inc., an Atlanta-based IT staffing company that Acsys got in a stock-swap deal in July 1998. That acquisition had also helped build a solid foundation for the company’s planned IT staffing area development, an arena it planned to enter before the end of its second year.
By the summer of 1998, in order to further facilitate expansion, the company had moved its CFO, Timothy Mann, Jr., into the position of CEO. Mann, an attorney, was a specialist in mergers and acquisitions, and he brought his previous experience with Alston & Bird, an Atlanta law firm, to the job. Cooper remained the chairman of the company’s board. The company also moved its corporate headquarters from Washington, D.C., to Atlanta. Because Acsys was very decentralized structurally, the move required the relocation of only five of the company’s top executives. Two of the three chief managers already lived in Atlanta, and, in truth, the firm’s business heart was located there. The move did make that city the corporate center for the diversely located offices in Acsys’s network of staffing operations. By the time it moved its headquarters, the company had 16 offices in operation across the eastern part of the nation.
In early August of 1998, Acsys purchased Staffing Edge, Inc., a major specialty professional staffing firm headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa. That firm, founded in 1992, had reached an annual revenue rate of about $33 million, with a specialty in placing temporary and permanent professionals in the finance/accounting, IT, legal, engineering and high-end office/clerical and training fields in ten metropolitan markets: Dallas/Fort Worth; Des Moines; Chicago; Denver; Houston; Kansas City; Phoenix, Arizona; San Antonio, Texas; and San Francisco. Terms of the acquisition were not made public.
We’re a different kind of staffing firm. Our professionals are industry specialists in the fields we serve. Our passion is to understand precisely what our clients want, and use that information to build relationships, not just headcounts. Our personal attention to all of our clients-candidates and companies —is what sets us apart from our competitors. And it’s why many of our candidates become our clients.
In 1999, Mann resigned his position as the company’s CEO and also relinquished his place on its board. The post was then assumed by Cooper, who also retained his chairmanship of the company’s board. By the time Mann stepped down, Acsys had successfully integrated 11 companies. It had also managed an internal growth rate in the top range for all companies in the professional staffing industry.
2000-01: Acsys Inc. Is Acquired by Vedior N.V.
In a Wall Street Transcript interview conducted in February 2000, Cooper revealed that about 55 percent of Acsys’s revenues came from its accounting and finance staffing services, while about 40 percent came from its information technology services. The IT business segment, which was barely two-years old, had already made tremendous strides. It was made up of two divisions: the first, the local contract group, augmented company staffs and provided an array of familiar computer services; the second, the national products business, augmented staffs for the implementation and support of enterprise resource planning (ERP).
ERP implementation consulting services had become a major part of Acsys’s IT business by the end of 2000. Among other things, Acsys had become an SAP National Implementation Partner. SAP, a major software company, specialized in ERP software used to integrate such back-office functions as accounting and distribution. Acsys also was providing implementation support for other applications, including that produced by PeopleSoft, a maker of network-based human resource software; J.D. Edwards, a maker of enterprise and supply-chain management software; and Siebel Systems, a leading maker of customer relationship management (CRM) software which automated the sales and service operations of larger corporations. It was through its strategic alliance with Siebel that Acsys ventured into the high-growth CRM area. Although in 1998 and 1999, Acsys, Inc. had recorded slight losses on the bottom line, its revenues soared, growing from $58.2 million in 1997 to $166.3 million in 1999. Its performance made it a ripe acquisition plum for a larger firm with a similar business focus. The buyout occurred in 2000, when Tiberia B.V. acquired the company through its subsidiary, Platform Purchaser Inc. Tiberia was itself jointly owned by ING Bank Corporate Investments and Amsterdam, Netherlands-based Vedior N.V., the world’s third largest staffing company, boasting more than 10,000 employees spread through 2,000 offices in 27 countries. Within that network, Acsys became a member of UK-based Select Appointments (Holdings) Limited. Reportedly, the transaction initially involved the tender of approximately 14.2 million shares of stock, or about 97.8 percent of all of Acsys, Inc.’s outstanding shares.
What impact the change in the company’s ownership may have on Acsys, Inc. in the long run remains to be seen. However; the company’s autonomy remained intact, and the firm seemed to be doing business as usual through 2000 and into 2001. Starting with its opening of a new office in Reston, Virginia, in January 2000, the company also seemed destined to continue on its expansion course, showing no shift in the focus of its business or a curtailment of its services.
Professional Services; Information Technology.
Kforce; Manpower, Inc.; Robert Half International Inc.; Interim Services, Inc., Norrell, Inc.; Olsten Corporation; Romac International, Inc.; Accountants, Inc.; Accountants on Call.
- Infinity Enterprises Inc. and EKT , Inc. are formed.
- Acsys Resources, Inc. is founded.
- David C. Cooper founds David C. Cooper & Associates.
- Cama of Tampa, Inc. opens its first office.
- Rylan Forbes Consulting Group, Inc is created.
- David C. Cooper & Associates merges with CPA Search and Staffing, Inc. to form Atlantic division of Acsys.
- Company completes IPO and moves headquarters to Atlanta; Acsys also acquires Staffing Edge, Inc. and Icon Search and Consulting, Inc.
- Vedior affiliate, Tiberia, buys Acsys.
“Acsys CEO Outlines Internet Strategy: An Interview with David Cooper,” Wall Street Transcript, http://www.twst.com/notes/articles/jal602.html.
“ACSY INC.-ACSY,” CDA-Investment Insiders’ Chronicle, March 22, 1999, p. 1.
“Acsys, Inc. Acquires Don Richard Associates of Richmond; Marks Entry into Strong Richmond, Virginia Market,” Business Wire, March 31, 1998.
“Acsys, Inc. Acquires Staffing Edge, Inc.; Expands Acsys Operations to 10 Key Markets,” Business Wire, August 4, 1998.
“Acsys, Inc. Announces Move to the American Stock Exchange under Symbol AYS,” Business Wire, August 31, 1999.
“Acsys, Inc. Chief Executive Officer Resigns,” Business Wire, December 1, 1999.
Billips, Mike, “National Staffing Firm Sets Up Shop Here,” Atlantic Business Chronicle, July 10, 1998, p. 1A.
—John W. Fiero