Financial software maker SunGard Data Systems has agreed to be bought by a consortium of private equity in an $11.3 billion deal that sees plans to spin off its business continuity unit shelved.
The deal for SunGard would be the largest ever buyout of a technology firm, and underscores a resurgence among equity investors for leveraged buyouts.
Under the terms of the deal shareholders will receive $36 per share and the investor group will take on $500 million of SunGard bond debt, which will remain outstanding.
Cristóbal Conde, president and chief executive of SunGard, said that the deal represents a long term investment for the consortium, with success depending on growing the business rather than slashing costs or reducing service levels.
“This transaction offers great value to our stockholders and represents an endorsement of our business model, industry leadership and financial strength. Our customers and employees should know that it is business as usual,” he added.
The news has generated a buzz of excitement in Silicon Valley, and has been heralded as a “milestone” by investors. The size of the deal is a clear sign that few technology companies can consider themselves too large to be taken over.
The buyout consortium includes seven private equity firms, led by technology-focused investment firm Silver Lake Partners. Silver Lake has previously invested in companies such as disk drive maker Seagate, software maker Business Objects, and analyst house Gartner Group.
SunGard’s Board of Directors has already approved the deal and will recommend that stockholders follow suit. It has also announced not to go ahead with a former plan to spin off SunGard’s Availability Services business, the unit which focuses on backup and disaster recovery.
The transaction is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2005.