HgCapital trumps Sage for Visma

HgCapital, a UK-based mid-market buyout firm, has trumped software provider Sage Group’s bid for Oslo-listed Visma, a computer services company worth NKr4.3bn (US$681m/£382m) at the latest offer price.

Visma’s board has switched its recommendation to HgCapital’s NKr135 per share offer, which is NKr10 per share or 6.7% more than Sage’s offer proposed on March 22.

Øystein Moan, chief executive of Visma, said: “The board believes that [HgCapital’s] offered price represents a fair pricing of the company’s shares, implying a premium of approximately 28% to the unaffected closing share price prior to announcement of the offer from Sage Group on March 22.”

Sage has rejected raising its offer but Visma’s shares were trading at NKr137 each on April 19, the day after HgCapital’s offer statement made through bid vehicle Engel.

HgCapital said 41.3% of Visma’s shareholders, with 13.2m shares, had accepted the offer initially but others had since fallen in and it was near to having a majority with a target of 90%. Visma had revenues of NKr587m in the first quarter, up from NKr468m in the same period of 2005, and its annual turnover for 2004 was NKr1.666bn.

HgCapital closed its fifth fund at £950m fund in March and has since agreed to buy UK healthcare company Paragon for £322m and crash test dummy maker First Technology Safety & Analysis for £50m.

Its previous technology investments include Iris Software and Addison Software and it might be considering bolting all three together if Engel’s bid succeeds.

Linklaters is legal counsel to HgCapital.