Exclusive: Compuware, after rejecting Elliott bid, explores sale

Thu Feb 21, 2013 3:55pm EST
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By Nadia Damouni and Soyoung Kim

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Business software maker Compuware Corp, which has rejected a $2.3 billion bid by an activist investor, is exploring a sale and talking to buyout firms to gauge takeover interest, four people familiar with the matter said.

The Detroit-based company has held early talks with several large private equity firms, including Blackstone Group LP, TPG Capital LP and Golden Gate Capital, about a potential deal, the people said on Thursday.

Compuware shares rose as much as 9.5 percent to $12.74 in Nasdaq trading on Thursday before trimming gains to trade about 2 percent higher, valuing the company at around $2.5 billion.

Compuware in January rejected an $11 per share offer from New York-based hedge fund Elliott Management Corp, its second-largest shareholder with an 8.7 percent stake, and said it would proceed with plans to spin off a non core unit, cut costs and pay out dividends.

However, the company opened the door to a better offer from Elliott or other buyers and agreed to provide the investor with confidential financial information to allow due diligence.

Investment banks Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Allen & Company are advising Compuware, said the sources, who asked for anonymity because the process is not public.

Representatives for Goldman, Elliott, TPG and Golden Gate declined to comment. Blackstone and Allen & Company could not immediately be reached for comment.

A Compuware spokeswoman declined to comment, but pointed to the company's statement on January 25 that said: "The board will carefully review and evaluate any credible offer it receives."   Continued...