Shares of Warrington-based software robot firm Blue Prism Group rose about 9% to around £12.24 on Tuesday after it received a preliminary approach from Connecticut-based financial services software firm SS&C Technologies Holdings regarding a possible cash offer for Blue Prism of £12 per share — about £1.2 billion.
Some analysts now expect a bidding war for Blue Prism, which had already agreed to a takeover by US private equity firm Vista Equity for £11.25 per share in cash — about £1.1 billion.
Blue Prism, whose customers include the NHS, Daimler, Fidelity and eBay, had said it planned to recommend that shareholders vote in favour of Vista Equity’s bid, calling the terms “fair and reasonable.”
If the Vista Equity deal for Blue Prism went through, Vista has said it would “indirectly transfer” the business to Tibco, a Vista portfolio company.
Activist shareholder Coast Capital Management has voiced opposition to the Vista Equity deal which it said it “vastly undervalues” Blue Prism.
Coast Capital announced on Tuesday afternoon: “Coast Capital Management, a shareholder of Blue Prism, announces its support for US-based SS&C’s $1.56 billion bid to acquire UK-based Blue Prism.”
Coast Capital founding partner James Rasteh said: “We believe that the bid by SS&C for Blue Prism will, if successful, help transform SS&C into the clear tech leader (and therefore services leader) in the fund admin space.
“This is a visionary move and is indicative of a visionary management team.”
Coast said it believes SS&C “is an incomparably more suitable partner for key stakeholders of Blue Prism than Vista or Tibco, whose questionable dealings and relationship with the CEO of Blue Prism (and at least one compromised board member) prevent investors from considering the Vista offer and process as suitable.”
Rasteh added: “It is shocking to see that the Board continues to endorse Vista’s bid, which confirms their clear conflict of interest that we have been highlighting since day one.”
Blue Prism said in a stock exchange statement on Tuesday: “On 10 November 2021, Blue Prism received a preliminary approach from SS&C Technologies Holdings, Inc. (SS&C) regarding a possible cash offer of 1,200 pence per Blue Prism share for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Blue Prism (the ‘SS&C proposal’).
“In accordance with its obligations under Rule 21.3 of the Code, the board of Blue Prism is providing SS&C with due diligence access equal to that which was provided to Vista.
“The SS&C Proposal is subject to the satisfaction or waiver of a number of pre-conditions including the completion of detailed due diligence.
The board is currently evaluating the SS&C Proposal with its financial adviser, Qatalyst Partners Limited.
“There can be no certainty that any firm offer will be made by SS&C.
“Whilst the directors of Blue Prism continue to believe that the Vista offer is in the best interests of Blue Prism shareholders and are not withdrawing their recommendation of it at this stage, in light of the SS&C proposal, the board consider it to be in Blue Prism shareholders’ interests to adjourn the Court Meeting and General Meeting in order to explore further the approach from SS&C.
“The Court Meeting and General Meeting required to implement the Vista Offer, which are due to be held on 19 November 2021, will therefore be adjourned, in each case to a date and time to be determined by the directors of Blue Prism.
“A further announcement will be made if and when appropriate.”