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ASG raises offer to buy Mitek to $11.50 per share

(Reuters) - Hedge fund Elliott Management Corp's ASG Technologies Group Inc raised its offer to buy Mitek Systems Inc MITK.O to $11.50 per share from $10, in its latest attempt to buy the provider of financial technology to banks.

ASG said it made the offer public because Mitek refused to engage with the hedge fund on “reasonable terms.” Mitek could not immediately be reached for comment.

The latest offer, in a letter dated two weeks ago but only made public on Monday, represents a 28.2 percent premium to the stock’s closing price on Friday. Mitek’s shares were up 10 percent at $9.96.

Elliott Management added in a separate statement that Mitek “refused to engage” with ASG about the $11.50 per share offer unless Elliott “agreed to give up its right as shareholders.” That shareholder “right,” according to a source familiar with the matter, refers to Elliott’s ability to nominate its own slate of directors ahead of the company’s 2019 annual meeting.

The deadline to nominate directors was Dec. 7. Shareholders can nominate directors privately without disclosing it.

ASG had revised its offer from $10 a share in cash on Oct. 31. Reuters reported earlier that month that the company rebuffed the hedge fund’s first takeover approach.

ASG expects to finance the deal with cash from its balance sheet, debt financing from third party lenders and cash equity invested by Elliott and other shareholders.

Naples, Florida-based ASG said on Monday that it would finance the acquisition with a combination of cash from its balance sheet, debt financing as well as an investment by Elliott. The company added that its proposal has no financing condition because Elliott, which has $35 billion under management, would commit to provide the equity if needed.

Reporting by Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru and Liana B. Baker in New York; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Susan Thomas

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