Mainframe software titan Compuware to go private in $2.5B buyout

wall street wall st stop sign black and white urban city NYC financial districtCompuware Corp. is officially leaving the stock market in a multi-billion-dollar deal that represents the end of another chapter in the history of the Detroit tech scene and provides a long-awaited exit for investors. The announcement of the landmark transaction comes a few short days after an insider leaked to the Wall Street Journal that the software and services giant is in negotiations with an unnamed private equity firms to take it private.

The mysterious buyer has turned out to be Thoma Bravo LLC, one of the top technology buyout shops, which has acquired stakes in over 30 major enterprise vendors over the past decade. But the firm’s reputation for delivering above-average returns will be put to the test with Compuware, which set it back approximately $2.5 billion, or a 17 percent premium over the company’s closing price last Monday.

Investors will receive $10.25 in cash and another 67 cents in shares of Covisint Corp., a provider of managed supply chain management services that was established by a consortium of top car makers in 2000 and became a part of Compuware in 2009. The cloud firm has seen its share price drop nearly 10 percent since partially spinning out to the NASDAQ in September, according to data from Reuters, a decline that mirrors its parent company’s performance over the last few quarters.

A symbol of the mainframe era, the 40-year-old Compuware has been slow to adjust to the new competitive reality of the enterprise technology landscape. Between its entry into the systems management space towards the end of the last decade and a move to add support for Hadoop earlier this year, the company did too little too late to address the megatrends reshaping the market. Faced with the choice of taking on an unprecedented restructuring or selling out, management decided to go with the latter.

The Compuware board unanimously approved the deal and Elliott Management Corp., an activist investor that bought a 9.5 percent stake of the firm at the first signs of trouble in 2012, has predictably announced its support for the agreement. Jefferies LLC, Credit Suisse Group AG and Deutsche Bank AG are providing debt financing for the purchase, which is expected to close early next year.

photo credit: nromagna via photopin cc

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