Australia's Iress rejects $2.2 billion EQT bid, shares soar

(Reuters) -Australia’s Iress Ltd said on Thursday it had rejected two bids from private equity firm EQT, the latest of which valued the software provider at up to A$2.96 billion ($2.18 billion), as they did not provide compelling value to its shareholders.

Shares of Iress surged more than 16% to A$14.54, after the company said EQT had proposed to buy it for between A$15.30-A$15.50 per share earlier this month, following a A$14.80 a share bid in June.

The bids highlight rising deal-making activity in Australia this year amid record-low interest rates and as an economic rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic buttresses tech valuations.

The Iress board “unanimously concluded that the indicative proposal was conditional and did not represent compelling value for Iress shareholders,” the company said in a statement, adding that it had provided EQT with “limited, non-public information” to work on a better offer.

Iress, which provides its software to banks, insurers, traders and brokers, has seen its share price soar more than 30% so far this year.

EQT did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

($1 = 1.3572 Australian dollars)

Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu