* Deal valued at about $455 mln
* Offer price of $15.50/share on average
* Permira offers public stockholders $16.60/share
* Renaissance founders, family to get $15/share
* Shares touch a high of $16.65
(Rewrites throughout with analysts comments, share movement)
By Fareha Khan
Sept 27 Education software maker Renaissance
Learning Inc said it would be bought by Permira Funds
for about $455 million in cash, after the private equity firm
sweetened its offer to match a rival takeover bid from Plato
An affiliate of Permira funds has offered stockholders other
than Renaissance co-founders Terrance and Judith Paul, and
members of their family, $16.60 a share -- 6 percent more than
the stock's closing price of $15.69 on Monday on Nasdaq.
The company's shares jumped 6 percent to touch their
16-month high on Tuesday morning.
There has been growing private equity interest in
the U.S. K-12 education sector. In July, Providence Equity
Partners, a well-known investor in the education field, agreed
to buy education software company Blackboard Inc for
Terrance and Judith Paul, who founded Renaissance in 1986,
and members of their family own about 69 percent of the
company's outstanding shares and have backed Permira's improved
They will receive $15 a share in cash for their shares. On
average, Permira Funds will buy Renaissance shares for $15.50
each, matching a Plato Learning's buyout offer.
"It illustrates the influence that the founders Terrance and
Judith Paul have on the company and this process of selling it,
because they are willing to accept a lower value from Permira
and allow public shareholders to get a higher value," Stifel
Nicolaus analyst Jerry Herman told Reuters.
"They (Pauls) are willing to take lesser money to sell the
company to who they want it to be sold to, as opposed to just an
outright bidding process," Herman said.
In August, Wisconsin-based Renaissance had first struck a
deal to be bought by Permira Funds for $14.85 per share in cash
, but this was in jeopardy when Plato Learning
stepped in with a higher offer earlier this month.
Learning-software company Plato, too, was taken private by
Thoma Bravo last year.
Europe-based Permira, which was founded in 1985 and advises
funds with a total committed capital of about 20 billion euros,
has investments in companies such as Freescale Semiconductor
and fashion label Hugo Boss BOSG_p.DE.
(Reporting by Fareha Khan in Bangalore; Editing by Viraj Nair)