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SoftwareOne takeover battle looms as private equity firms bid for company

A bidding war appears to be heating up for multi-billion Swiss franc software firm SoftwareOne Holding AG, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.

SoftwareOne, which helps companies manage software purchases from vendors such as Microsoft, Adobe and IBM, received non-binding bids this week from private equity firms Bain Capital and Apax Partners, two people said.

The Swiss software manager has been holding management presentations this month as part of a strategic review run by JPMorgan, a third person said. Non-binding bids were due on Oct. 11 and at least four parties submitted proposals, one of the people said.

SoftwareOne, which went public on the Swiss exchange in 2019, declined to comment.

The bidding revives takeover prospects for the Stans-based company after it rebuffed two approaches by Bain this summer.

Bain’s proposal this week values SoftwareOne at up to 3.2 billion Swiss francs ($3.55 billion), with the 19.5-20.5 Swiss franc per share range in line with an offer it made in July, a second person said.

Bain, Apax and JPMorgan declined to comment.Bain had also made a 2.9 billion Swiss franc offer for SoftwareOne in June with the support of founding shareholders Daniel von Stockar, B Curti Holding and Rene Gilli, who together held 29.1% of the company.

SoftwareOne said at the time the offer “materially undervalues” the company and was not in its best interest or that of the majority of its shareholders. It said Bain had made an all cash offer of 18.50 Swiss francs per share to take the company private, representing a 33% premium to the closing price on May 31, when it was presented to SoftwareOne’s directors.

Bain also promptly rejected Bain’s second offer in July, instead opting to launch a strategic review.

It said it was open to “proactively discuss options that substantially reflect the fundamental value of the company, including with Bain Capital”, while also exploring other options to create value.

Most recently, SoftwareOne in August said a strategic review to maximise shareholder value was ongoing, as it reported a 1.7% drop in adjusted earnings before interest, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the first half of 2023 to 111.7 million Swiss francs. Reuters

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