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EMPLOYEES GET RICH IN FIRM'S SALE.

Byline: Jason Z. Cohen Staff Writer

WESTLAKE VILLAGE - Longtime employees of SDR Technologies Inc. arrived at work Friday to find their company was sold for about $117 million - and their loyalty would be richly rewarded in many cases.

Most of the 50-plus employees had a stake in the privately held company thanks to a profit-sharing program. Their individual net worths were still being tallied up late Friday.

``We've had people that have been with us since we were just three or four people and wondering how we were going to make payroll - those people are going to do very well,'' said Chief Executive Officer Kelly Kimball. ``We do have employees who will have several hundred thousand dollars to their name, and a few who are into the millions.''

Who wants to be a millionaire, indeed.

Their windfall resulted from Overland Park, Kan.-based National Information Consortium Inc. agreeing Thursday to buy SDR in an all-stock deal. NIC will issue 2.1 million shares to shareholders of SDR, a private company.

Friday's closing price of $55.875 put the deal's value in the $117 million range. Some of those 2.1 million shares will go to employees who own stock in the company through a profit-sharing plan.

SDR Technologies designs and implements software that allows governments to accept forms filed via the Internet, a concept that seemed unusual in 1994, when SDR installed its first system.

From the first program it designed - an election-filing system for San Francisco - SDR has built systems for all levels of government, said Kimball, who will be responsible for international market development for NIC.

The next step was an Internet filing system for the state of Hawaii.

``We weren't making any money selling that, but we were very happy with it,'' Kimball said. ``All of sudden, we had states calling us for the system.''

Now, car and boat owners in Michigan and other states can renew their registrations over the Internet thanks to the Westlake Village-based company. SDR also has prototype systems for other government functions such as liquor control and professional and business licensing.

Kimball said SDR has contracts with 10 state governments, several federal agencies and numerous municipal governments.

The merger made sense for both companies, Kimball said.

``We were growing into their business and they were growing into our business - we've just relieved some of the competitive pressures,'' Kimball said. ``The value is in our ability to produce technologies that allow them to expand at a much faster pace.''

The purchase positions NIC to dominate its industry, said Jim Dodd, the company's president and chief executive officer.

``No other company will be able to provide the breadth and depth of services we can deliver,'' Dodd said in a statement.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 19, 2000
Words:456
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