Control Data Australia Memories compiled by Brian Membrey

Ex-CDA comments, suggestions, criticisms

Miden : The Buy-out



The Age, 7 November, 1989

Miden created as management buys out Control Data

“The $33 million management buyout of Control Data Australia creates a wholly Australian-owned company, trading as Miden Corporation.

“It will have three subsidiaries: Miden Investments which will hold CD Australia's interest in the licensed management and investment company Techniche; Miden Pacific, CD Australia's computer distribution and maintenance business, and Miden Volume Products to distribute Seagate-Imprimis storage devices, NEC personal computers and other products for which the company becomes a dealer or distributor.

“The decision to separate the core operations from the volume products side was prompted by plans to establish a systems integration business.  “It already has its first systems integration contract, installing point-of-sales and personal computers in petrol outlets.

“Defence will be another area on which the new Miden Corporation will concentrate.

“The change of name to Miden will take place on 1 December. It is based on the first letters of the surnames of the two top executives. Mr Philip Michod, the managing director, and Mr Doug Dent, the director of operations.

“They jointly own Miden Corporation, but say they will allocate 10 per cent of the shares to staff as bonuses, apparently in an effort to ensure top people stay with the company and provide staff motivation.

“Mr Michod has been managing director for only one year, while Mr Dent has worked for Control Data Australia for 24 years. The two executives made a bid to take over the maintenance business of Control Data Australia after the United States parent began selling off operations not directly connected with its core computer manufacturing business.

“The US parent suggested they buy the whole business, though the 20 per cent CD Australia held in the Computer Power Training Institute was sold to the Computer Power Group.

“Mr Michod and Mr Dent took over operating control of CD Australia on 1 July. The terms for the purchase of the business were decided on 4 July. It becomes official on December 1 along with the name change.

“Control Data Corporation provided 20 per cent of the purchase price on vendor terms, while Boston Australia, the merchant bank subsidiary of the Bank of Boston, supplied the rest, about $25 million.

“Mr Michod and Mr Dent say they will repay the loan within three years from the company's cashflow. CDA Australia will report earnings before interest and tax of $4.6 million on revenue of $30.5 million for the year ended 30 November. Miden Corporation will change the end of its financial year to 30 June.

“The new owners say revenue and earnings will increase conservatively at 20 percent a year.

“The maintenance business generates $17 million a year, more than half for the maintenance of computers other than the Cyber range built by Control Data Corporation. Miden Corporation has already begun to chase other maintenance business, including the warranty side of Commodore personal computers.

“Mr Michod stressed Control Data Corporation had no plans to sell other overseas subsidiaries. It had sold the subsidiaries in Israel and South Africa because they were politically isolated. It sold the Australian subsidiary because it was geographically isolated, especially as the international headquarters were based in Europe.

“Miden will continue to sell and support the Cyber computer range as well as the only ETA supercomputer sold in Australia which was to the Meteorological Bureau.

Editor :

The date of this article does not accurately reflects the Corporation’s decision to sell off Control Data Australia - obviously the Miden deal was brokered and came into effect from the start of the financial year on 1 July - I need a trip to the State Library to see whether a more contemporary account appeared in The Australian;  I’m pretty sure it would have been front page of the computer section.

Obviously some that are regulars at Third-Friday lunches made the transition to Miden and spent anything up to four years there, but the name is rarely mentioned, perhaps because of a reluctance to recollect old times that may not quite have been as happy and contended compared with those at CDA.

The petrol outlet referred to as first systems integration contract was with Shell and is mentioned as probably becoming a bit of a nightmare by Ian Downie in his oral interview with Tom Misa in November, 2013.   

See Downloads for a formatted set of the Misa interviews

Phillip Michod as pictured in The Age article,

(Below) Doug Dent, pictured in “Access”, 1986