Coast Capital to vote against Vista's bid for UK software firm Blue Prism

(Reuters) -Activist investor Coast Capital said on Thursday it was planning to vote against U.S. private equity firm Vista Equity Partners’ 1.1 billion pounds ($1.48 billion) bid for software developer Blue Prism Group.

Earlier this week, Blue Prism became the latest British takeover target by a private equity firm, a trend driven by cheap UK valuations following Brexit and the pandemic.

In a letter to the software firm’s board, Coast Capital said it would encourage other shareholders to reject Vista’s 1,125 pence per share offer, saying the bid undervalues the London-listed firm.

“The proposed transaction leads shareholders to question the board’s clear conflict of interest in unanimously supporting a transaction which values the company materially below consensus valuation, 52-week high, and its average price since IPO,” Coast Capital, which owns about 3 million Blue Prism shares, said.

Blue Prism, whose customers include automaker Daimler, eBay and Britain’s NHS, said on Tuesday it plans to recommend shareholders vote in favour of the Vista bid, calling the terms “fair and reasonable”.

Vista and Blue Prism declined to comment.

Blue Prism’s shares closed flat on Thursday at 1,150 pence.

($1 = 0.7426 pounds)

Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil and Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Shounak Dasgupta