Innovaatio Varustukset, a small independent military development company, has found itself at the centre of an intense bidding war between the Caldari MegaCorps.
The corporation, founded a decade ago by current CEO Markku Samuli, is unusual amongst Caldari entities in that it is entirely privately owned and run, without any connection to the larger Caldari MegaCorps. Whilst such approaches are traditionally a disadvantage in the ruthless economic battlegrounds of the State, the company's innovative and unorthodox work environment, along with the hard work of Samuli himself, has allowed the corporation to flourish and earn a reputation many times it’s size.
Much of Innovaatio's success stems from several development contracts with the Caldari Navy, allowing the corporation to turn a sizeable profit at a time of economic recession in the majority of the State. This, along with rumours of cutting edge research in several sectors, has spurred the MegaCorps into a vicious bidding war for the company.
Ishukone, Lai Dai and Nugoeihuvi are believed to be making the front running in the current round of bids.
"It's a dream come true," said Samuli at the press conference announcing the impending sale. "I started this company with hopes of earning enough to send my children to a good school. Now, I'll be able to send my children's children's children to a good school as well."
Samuli declined to comment on an exact figure of the amount of ISK being offered, but estimates place the worth of the company at over 50 billion ISK in raw assets alone. Analysts expect the bids are entering the area of 400 billion ISK, a sizeable amount for a corporation the size of Innovaatio Varustukset, with a final total that many observers believe will exceed this easily.
"Every time one number gets sent in, someone else sends in a bigger number," Samuli said. "I can't imagine the bidding will continue for much longer. Eventually, someone will offer a number I don't think can be topped."
Some parties are questioning the size of the bids, however. "The company has succeeded thus far by being apart from the MegaCorp structure," said Hugues Jasmin, a Gallente analyst who has focused his research on the economics of the Caldari State. "The MegaCorps are unlikely to maintain the talent, atmosphere, and work environment that has allowed Innovaatio Varustukset to thrive. They're taking a huge risk."
Most analysts, nonetheless, dismiss such worries. "With the weight of a Lai Dai or Ishukone behind it, the company can focus more on the research and less on the economic and administrative," said Sindri Hinrik, head of the Economics department at Science and Trade Institute. "It should be mutually beneficial to everyone involved."
Insiders expect a deal to be announced within the next week which prompted shares in the company to rise 11% in 24 hours.