Dutch software maker for top UK firms taken private for €1bn

 
Michael Bow
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THE PRIVATE equity backer of UK sofa store DFS yesterday agreed to take a Dutch software provider for businesses like EDF Energy and Lloyds Bank private for about €1.2bn.

Advent International, which also owns share service Equiniti, has agreed to buy listed firm Unit4 at €38.75 a share, giving shareholders a 55 per cent premium on its average price over the past year.

Amsterdam-listed Unit4 has six UK offices and sells software to companies to help them model financial forecasts and analyse costs. EDF uses its software to model major infrastructure projects while retail firms such as Primark use it to map the cost of fitting out stores.

The buyout follows a fiercely contested bidding process with interest from firms like Bain Capital and Apax.

“We have been investing in the software industry for over 20 years and believe that Unit4 has the opportunity to become a global leader in mid-market ERP (enterprise resource planning),” Advent managing partner Fred Wakeman said. Unit4 shares closed up 8.5 per cent in Amsterdam.