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TietoEnator slumps as Nordic Capital sells stake

20 May 2008  |  5946 views  |  0 graph

Shares in Scandinavian IT services vendor TietoEnator have slumped on news that Nordic Capital's bid vehicle Cidron Services has sold off a 4.4% holding in its business.

TietoEnator shares closed 8.32% lower at EUR14.76 yesterday and continued to fall in morning trading after Cidron Services said it had sold a 4.4% shareholding at an average price of EUR16.50 per share. The stock was trading at EUR14.70 at lunchtime today.

Cidron is pursuing a hostile takeover bid of TietoEnator and launched a EUR15 per share, or EUR1.1 billion, offer for the vendor in April. Since then Cidron has pushed back the offer period for its bid three times. The offer period is now expected to end on 23 May.

According to press reports investors have been waiting to see if Cidron ups its offer for TietoEnator, but the move to sell the 4.4% stake implies the equity outfit is pulling back from the bid.

The TietoEnator board has repeatedly rejected the EUR15 per share offer. Furthermore, last week a group of shareholders that hold a combined 10.4% stake in TietoEnator said they will not accept the offer. This appears to have scuppered the Cidron deal which was dependant on holders of at least 90% of TietoEnator's shares accepting the deal.

In its latest statement TietoEnator has again repeated its rejection of the Cidron offer and says its board is "in active dialogue on, other alternatives to enhance shareholder value".

"The board will keep the market informed if a firm and actionable alternative for shareholders materialises that could bring more value for shareholders than TietoEnator's revised strategy," says the statement.

Reuters reported last week that Blackstone, Telenor and EDB Business Partner are in talks with TietoEnator about a white-knight bid. Citing "people close to the matter", the report said the consortium is considering a bid before merging the firm with EDB.

However a separate report by Reuters rules out CapGemini as a potential bidder for TietoEnator.

According to the report, Capgemini's CEO Paul Hermelin has stated that TietoEnator is too big for CapGemini to buy.

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