PhillyDeals: Qlik to offer shares on Nasdaq

Posted: July 15, 2010

Qlik Technologies Inc., of Radnor, plans to sell a minority stake worth about $100 million in an initial public offering on the Nasdaq stock market Friday. Morgan Stanley is leading the sale.

Qlik (people who work there call it "click-tech") employs about 600, including 46 at its Radnor-Chester Road headquarters.

They make and sell QlikView-brand "in-memory associated search technology," designed to dig up, simplify, and use business data from workstations or smartphones out in the field.

Sales topped $157 million last year, up from $118 million a year earlier and $81 million the year before that, to clients the company says include BP P.L.C., Campbell Soup Co., Colonial Life, Dannon, ING, Kraft Foods Inc., Symantec Corp., and Britain's National Health Service, among others. Net income was $6.9 million last year, $3 million the year before.

The company was founded in Sweden in 1993. Most Qlik staffers work in Sweden and other countries outside the United States. Chief executive officer Lars Bjork was educated as an engineer and formerly worked for midsize tech companies in Sweden.

How did its bosses end up in Radnor? Early backers include Paul Wahl, former chief executive of German-owned, Newtown Square-based SAP America Inc., and ex-SAP international markets boss Alex Ott. They also worked at Siebel Systems Inc.

Besides investing, they invited Bjork to move Qlik near their homes, and they helped oversee its entry into the business-software market, where giant system vendors such as SAP and Oracle Corp. are trying to cope with cheap, fast competition from upstart niche firms.

The largest pre-public Qlik shareholders are Israeli tech investor Erel N. Margalit's Jerusalem Venture Partners and Silicon Valley buyout firm Accel Partners, who together own more than half of Qlik. Company officials wouldn't comment beyond their Securities and Exchange Commission filings, citing the "quiet period" before securities sales.

Fix-up on South Broad

Building-trade workers from Brooklyn to Milwaukee have joined their Philadelphia union brothers from nine trades this summer in restoring the fire-blackened, gilded, hand-plastered ceiling four stories over the office floor at 123 S. Broad St., the flagship branch of the region's dominant bank, currently called Wachovia.

After April's electrical fire poured black smoke through the high halls, insurer Liberty Mutual agreed to pay "several million" to clean and polish the marble and bronze and re-gild the ceiling plaster, Joseph Eisenstein, vice president at landlord SSH Management L.L.C., told me.

Three floors of scaffolding should come down this weekend, revealing brightened ceiling and walls, said Scott Bamford of general contractor Hunter Roberts Construction Group L.L.C.

Wisconsin-based painter Will Kolstad said he had worked in Philadelphia before, on City Hall's intricate ceilings. His coworkers lifted gold leaf from round palettes using art brushes, looking more like professors at the nearby University of the Arts than veteran industrial painters.

Contracts are still being negotiated to replace the Nicola D'Ascenzo stained glass over the massive bronze doors to Broad Street, Bamford said.

It's been a stressful summer - "But you don't realize what you have until you suffer a bit of a loss," Eisenstein told me. "It's really been a revelation, the quality of the work in this building" from the 1920s.

Pa. delays settlement date

It has been more than two years since Pennsylvania's Department of General Services agreed to sell the state's office tower at Broad and Spring Garden Streets to Northern Liberties builder Bart Blatstein's Tower Investments Inc. for $25 million, later reduced to $23 million after delays moving state offices to Market Street space owned by Ron Rubin's Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust.

Under the revised contract, Blatstein was supposed to close the deal this week. "We are in discussions with Mr. Blatstein to extend the settlement date and expect to hammer out an agreement soon," state DGS spokesman Ed Myslewicz told me. "Both parties want to make this transaction happen."

"There will be an extension," Blatstein confirmed. "I'm still getting money." So far, Blatstein has paid the state $2.8 million in deposits and bid guarantees, plus $80,000 for operating expenses.

Contact Joseph N. DiStefano at 215-854-5194 or