(Adds company, analyst comment, share price)
By Pamela Barbaglia and Freya Berry
LONDON, July 11 Dutch software firm Exact
Holding said it had been approached by parties about a
possible takeover, after Reuters reported that private equity
funds including Apax and KKR were eyeing a
buyout of the firm.
Exact said on Friday it had received interest in a possible
buyout of all outstanding shares, at indicative prices of 30-35
euros per share. A price of 35 euros would value the firm at 854
million euros ($1.2 billion).
Two sources said Rothschild has been mandated to sell the
company, which is listed on Euronext Amsterdam with a market
capitalisation of 617 million euros.
"Exact is engaged in preliminary discussions," the company
said in a statement, adding that there was no certainty of an
offer being made.
"The Managing Board and the Supervisory Board of Exact will
be carefully evaluating these expressions of interest and will
take the interests of all stakeholders, including the
shareholders, into full consideration in their decision making."
Exact's shares were up 26 percent at 31.8 euros a share at
1331 GMT. At one point, shares hit a high of 36 euros, their
highest level since 2001 and on track for their biggest-ever
daily gain since the firm's listing in 1999.
"Private equity interest around Exact has been mounting
since UNIT4 was snapped up by Advent," said a source, who
declined to be named because the talks are private.
Apax, which was previously bidding for software firm UNIT4,
has now directed its attention towards Exact. The list of
bidders also includes global investment firm KKR, while EQT and
Hellman & Friedman initially explored a potential acquisition
but are no longer in the process, the sources said.
"Especially after the takeover of UNIT4, we believed Exact
could be next, because it has net cash, lots of recurring
revenues and there's a very fast-growing cloud software business
which is now being internationalised," said Hans Slob, analyst
"Everything above 30 is a good price," he added.
Public-to-private or P2P deals have been scarce in recent
years as record highs in stock markets have pushed up prices for
A deal would mark the second take-private transaction among
technology stocks listed on Euronext since Advent International
offered 1.2 billion euros to acquire UNIT4, a multiple of around
12 times the firm's 2013 core earnings (EBITDA) of 97.6 million
euros. The deal closed in March this year.
Media reports said in 2008 that Exact, which provides IT and
software solutions to small and medium-sized businesses, was in
take-private talks with several private equity firms including
Hg Capital, Hellman & Friedman and Providence.
The company, which is moving to a cloud-based business model
from a licensing software-based model, could command multiples
of at least 12 times its core earnings (EBITDA) and a premium of
around 30-40 percent, one of the sources said, potentially
valuing the firm at around one billion euros.
Exact generated 47.4 million euros of core earnings in 2013,
on revenue of 213.2 million euros. In the fourth quarter of 2013
revenue from cloud solutions increased 42.4 percent to 5.8
million euros compared to the same period last year.
Exact Holding, KKR, Apax, Hellman & Friedman and EQT were
not immediately available to comment. Rothschild declined to
($1 = 0.7331 euros)
(Additional reporting by Clare Hutchison, and Thomas Escritt in
Amsterdam; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle and David Evans)