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NHS automation firm Blue Prism backs new £1.2 billion takeover bid as battle for tech company heats up


Blue Prism’s software helped to automate the buying of PPE during the pandemic  (Getty Images)

Blue Prism’s software helped to automate the buying of PPE during the pandemic (Getty Images)

The board of London-listed takeover target Blue Prism today switched sides and backed a new last-minute bid from US tech firm SS&C.

Connecticut-headquartered SS&C today offered to buy AIM-listed tech company Blue Prism for £1.24 billion, trumping a £1.22 billion bid from Texas private equity firm

Vista initially offered £1.1 billion in late September but sweetened its proposal after SS&C reveled it was circling Blue Prism. Earlier this month SS&C said it was considering a 1200p-a-share bid for the company. Today’s offer is 1275p-a-share.

The board of Blue Prism initially backed the Vista offer but today switched allegiances, saying SS&C’s firm bid was “a superior offer”. Investors were due to vote on the Vista proposal next week, but that meeting has now been called off.

Shares in Blue Prism rose 18p, or 1.4%, to 1317p, above SS&C’s offer.

Vista has reserved the right to make a counter bid and analysts said the bidding war was likely to continue.

Phil Sheridan at Cantor Fitzgerald Europe said: “SS&C modest premium, and the slightly convoluted tactics of Vista should lead to another bid from them, with the possibility of a Takeover Panel orchestrated auction process further down the line.”

A representative for Vista declined to comment.

Blue Prism, which makes automation software, was founded in Warrington in 2001 and listed on AIM in 2015. It works with companies including EY, Jaguar Land Rover, Siemens, and Google. Last year, its software helped automate pandemic PPE ordering for the NHS.

SS&C builds software for hedge funds, private equity firms, and healthcare companies. The Nasdaq-listed business has a market value of $20 billion.

Bill Stone, SS&C’s billionaire founder, chairman and CEO, said: “A core part of SS&C’s value proposition is to drive efficiencies for our customers, and Blue Prism is another lever for our customers to gain those efficiencies.”

Blue Prism CEO and chairman Jason Kingdon said: “The opportunity presented to combine Blue Prism with SS&C will bring us access to significant capital resources and investment in R&D alongside access to SS&C’s extensive 18,000 customers. The combination ensures that we remain at the forefront of the next generation of intelligent automation and can continue to provide innovative products and services.”

Coast Capital, a New York investment firm with a small stake in Blue Prism, had publicly criticized the company’s decision to sell to Vista, saying the bid undervalued the company. Coast subsequently said it supported SS&C’s offer, calling it “a visionary move.” Coast was contacted for comment.

Vista Partners made just last week.

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