October 10, 2014 / 4:20 PM / 6 years ago

Tieto, Apax among bidders for Norwegian IT firm Evry: sources

LONDON (Reuters) - Finnish technology firm Tieto TIE1V.HE and European private equity firm Apax [APAX.UL] are among the bidders for Evry EVRY.OL, one of the Nordic region’s largest IT services companies, four sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.

Evry, which offers cloud services and consulting, has a current market capitalization of 4.57 billion Norwegian crowns ($701.2 million). It said, following a strategic review in August, that it was considering a sale, which sent Evry’s shares up as much as 35 percent.

Second-round bids for the Oslo-listed firm are due in mid-November. Tieto, Apax and a further private equity firm are the only bidders left in the process, two of the sources said.

Evry and Tieto were not immediately available to comment. Apax declined to comment.

Evry was formed in 2010 through the merger of Norway’s IT firms EDB and ErgoGroup, which was supposed to lower costs and improve returns. Analysts said some of the same pressures on the business remain and spending in the sector has slowed. The company said that a sale could allow it to pursue the scale needed to better serve its customers which include financial institutions, municipalities and health authorities.

Evry’s top shareholders, Telenor (TEL.OL) and Norway Post, hold 70.2 percent of the shares and are backing the process. The top 10 owners hold a combined 87.7 percent.

Public-to-private deals typically command a premium of 20-30 percent on the company’s share price. Apax is currently purchasing Dutch software company Exact for 32 euros a share in cash, a premium of 27 percent to the firm’s closing share price on 10 July 2014. Private equity interest in the software sector has been on the rise since Advent snapped up Dutch software maker UNIT4 in 2013.

Helsinki-headquartered Tieto ranks as the largest IT services company in the Nordics, with net sales of 1.6 billion euros and operations in around 20 countries. Finnish state-owned investment company Solidium Oy [SLDUM.UL] owns around 10 percent of the business.

The sale is being run by Nordic bank ABG Sundal Collier (ASC.OL).

Editing by Susan Thomas and Elaine Hardcastle

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