UK software firm Blue Prism surges 10% on potential bidding war

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  • British software company Blue Prism said US-based SS&C has offered £12 a share to buy the firm.
  • This is higher than private equity firm Vista’s £11.25-per-share takeover bid.
  • Shares of Blue Prism rose up to 10% on the news.

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LONDON – Shares of Blue Prism jumped on Tuesday after the British software company revealed it has received an offer to take over from US-based tech firm SS&C Technologies Holdings, sparking a potential bidding war.

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London-listed Blue Prism has already agreed a deal to go private in a sale of approximately £1.1 billion ($1.47 billion) to US private equity firm Vista Equity Partners.

But the company disclosed on Tuesday that SS&C Technologies, a Windsor, Connecticut-based firm that sells financial services software, had submitted a £12 per share offer for the company.

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This is higher than Vista’s £11.25-a-share bid, and would give the company a slightly higher valuation of $1.56 billion based on its most recent outstanding share count.

“The Board is currently evaluating the SS&C proposal with its financial advisor, Catalyst Partners Ltd.,” Blue Prism said in a statement on Tuesday. “There is no certainty that any concrete offering will be made by SS&C.”

Blue Prism will adjourn a shareholder meeting on the Vista proposal to explore acquisition approach from SS&C, the company said. The firm said that management still considers the sale to Vista in the “best interest” of shareholders and recommends moving forward with it.

“A further announcement will be made if and when appropriate,” Blue Prism said.

Shares of Blue Prism gained up to 10% in Tuesday’s news.

Investors have expressed concern over Vista’s proposed acquisition of Blue Prism, arguing that it represents poor value for shareholders and a steep discount to competitors.

Blue Prism sells what is known as robotic process automation technology, or the use of metaphorical software robots that automate repetitive tasks in the workplace.

It competes with the likes of US-headquartered UiPath, which is listed in New York and has a market cap of over $28 billion, and Automation Anywhere, a privately held firm valued at $6.8 billion.

Activist investor Coast Capital is challenging the Blue Prism-Vista deal. The firm is in discussions with other disgruntled investors and says that around 30% of shareholders are willing to hold off on the takeover.

A Blue Prism investor told Businesshala that the chances of the deal getting approved appear to be looming fast.

“I think that’s right,” David Brown, founder of investment manager Hawk Edge, said in an interview last week. “I think it’s a little more likely to be dismissed.”

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