End of an era: SunGard Data Systems finally sold by backers

Michael Bow
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KKR boss Henry Kravis (right) was one of SunGard’s acquirers in 2005
One of the biggest buyouts of the pre-crash US private equity boom has finally been sold, a decade after its audacious takeover.

SunGard Data Systems, which makes trading software, has been offloaded for $9.2bn (£5.9bn) to US financial software company Fidelity National Information Services.

New York-listed Fidelity will pay 45 per cent in cash and the rest in stock to buy the company.

It brings the curtain down on a tumultuous period for the firm, which was jointly acquired by no less than seven private equity outfits in 2005 for $11.5bn.

“Our focus has always been on delivering more value to our clients and making decisions that achieve our growth and performance objectives,” SunGard boss Russ Fradin said.

At the time, SunGard was the biggest leveraged buyout since the 1989 takeover of RJR Nabisco by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), and sparked a frenzy of private equity mega buyouts.

The seven firms – Silver Lake Partners, Bain Capital, The Blackstone Group and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, KKR, Providence Equity Partners and TPG – bought SunGard, in a so-called club deal, a popular structure prevalent before the crisis.

In their 10 years of ownership, the consortium hived off SunGard’s disaster recovery unit and also sold a higher education division for $1.8bn.

SunGard filed for a public stock market listing earlier this year, but yesterday’s deal has scuppered a standalone listing.

The Pennsylvania-based company has around 55,000 employees and generated $9.2bn of revenue in the last financial year.

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