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Software maker Altium rejects $3.9 billion takeover bid from Autodesk

Australian-listed software maker Altium rejected a US$3.9 billion takeover bid from U.S. peer Autodesk Inc on Monday as too low, but kept the door open for a higher offer as its shares leapt to near six-month highs.

Autodesk, which makes architecture designing software AutoCAD, offered Altium AUS$38.50 for each share, a 41per cent premium to its last closing price, valuing the company at AUS$5.05 billion (US$3.91 billion).

Altium rejected the approach “at the current price” which analysts said valued it at 17 times forecast 2022 sales or 44 times forecast earnings. It added that it would engage with interested parties for an appropriate valuation and pursue a “review of all potential strategic alternatives”.

The phrasing “at the current price” potentially alludes to the willingness to complete a deal at a higher price, analysts at brokerage RBC Capital said in a note.

“Autodesk may incrementally increase its offer to gain further engagement from Altium’s board,” the analysts added.

A spokesperson for Autodesk said it was willing to engage further with Altium, which services high-profile customers such as Apple, Facebook, Tesla, BMW, Intel and Samsung. The company wants to integrate Altium’s electronics design software with its engineering and manufacturing software platforms to provide its users with a host of applications under one cloud network.

Jefferies analysts said they did not rule out a higher bid price from Autodesk but added that there could be other potential bidders such as France’s Dassault Systemes and NASDAQ-listed PCT Inc.

Dassault and PCT did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

It was the second tech-sector takeover bid of the Australian day, with customer relations and billing software provider Hansen Technologies receiving a AUS$1.3 billion approach from private equity firm BGH Capital on Monday that sent its shares to a record high.

Altium shares, which had been hovering near its post-pandemic low of US$23.11 in May, soared as much as 40.6per cent on Monday to mark their biggest intraday gain in more than a decade following the takeover offer, closing at AUS$37.83.

“Many tech stocks have been hammered -50per cent from their(overbought at the time) peaks back in early February,” Bell Potter sell-side strategist Richard Coppleson said in a note to clients.

“If corporates are seeing value – then maybe the sector’s period of underperformance is now officially over.” CNA

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