Dutch software firm Exact in $1.4 bln buyout talks with Apax, KKR

Target: Exact Holding

Price: $1.4 billion

Multiple: 12x EBITDA

Sponsors: Apax Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co

Financial Adviser: Rothschild

Two sources said Rothschild has been mandated to sell the company which is listed on Euronext Amsterdam with a market capitalization of 617 million euros. A deal would mark the second take-private transaction among technology stocks listed on Euronext since Advent International offered 1.2 billion euros to acquire another listed software firm, UNIT4, at the end of 2013.

“Private equity interest around Exact has been mounting since UNIT4 was snapped by Advent,” said a source who can’t be named because the talks are private. Apax, which previously was bidding for UNIT4, has now directed its attention towards Exact, the sources said.

The list of bidders also includes global investment firm KKR while EQT Partners and Hellman & Friedman initially explored a potential acquisition but are no longer in the process, the sources said.

Exact provides a range of business software services for small and medium enterprises. The company, which is moving to a cloud-based business model from a licensing software-based model, could command multiples of at least 12x its core earnings (EBITDA) and a premium of around 30-40 percent, one of the sources said.

Exact generated 47.4 million euros of core earnings in 2013, on revenue of 213.2 million euros. In the fourth quarter of 2013 revenues from cloud solutions increased 42.4 percent to 5.8 million euros compared to the same period last year.

Exact Holding, KKR, Apax, Hellman & Friedman and EQT were not immediately available to comment. Rothschild declined to comment.

Pamela Barbaglia  and Freya Berry are correspondents for Reuters in London.