Kewill pencils deal close date as Symphony deadline looms

KEWILL, the British software firm at the centre of a takeover battle, yesterday said its £102.7m acquisition by the Francisco Partners Funds could complete as soon as next Thursday.

The deal is still subject to approval, for which a meeting has been scheduled for 3 July.

But one remaining hurdle in Francisco’s race to success is Symphony, its rival bidder that has until Friday to raise its offer price.

Francisco, via its investment vehicle Kinetic Bidco, first piped up on 2 May with a 96p per share offer for Kewill, or a total of £89.5m.

The firm was outbid six weeks later by Symphony, via Kestrel Bidco, which offered 106p per share. At the time, the £99.6m bid was backed unanimously by the Kewill board.

But the software company’s directors quickly changed their mind last week, deciding to recommend Francisco’s revised offer.

The latest 110p per share bid is backed by 24.9 per cent of Kewill’s shareholders, in addition to the 1.1 per cent stake held by the board.

If Symphony do decide to up their offer price, Kewill’s main shareholders have made it clear they will not accept anything less than 118.25p.

Kewill’s shares closed yesterday at 112p, valuing the company at £102.1m.