Misys shares rocket as rival enters £1.2bn takeover fray

The long-lost contested takeover bid resurfaced yesterday in the form of a £1.2bn tug of love for the software outfit Misys.

The FTSE 250 company revealed two weeks ago that it is in talks to be bought by Temenos, a Swiss business seen as a peer. Yesterday, after much speculation that a rival bid would emerge, Vista Equity Partners forced its way into the field with a proposal described, in standard City jargon, as "non-binding".

The deal is believed to be worth £1.2bn. Vista, a US private-equity firm, is said to be willing to pay 360p a share for Misys, a considerable premium to the present share price. Misys stock leapt 20.5p to 330.1p.

Fidelity National Financial is understood to have made a £1.4bn approach last summer, but the talks went nowhere. Other private-equity companies may also launch rival bids for Misys.

Vista has until 19 March to make a formal offer or else walk away.

Although contested bids such as this are unsettling for staff and present a quandary for shareholders, they are a joy for City bankers. Misys is being represented by Barclays Capital and JPMorgan Cazenove, which can expect to see their fees rise the longer the uncertainty persists.

Misys, led by chief executive Mike Lawrie, pictured, works for 1,300 companies, including 50 of the world's top banks. It employs 4,000 in 120 countries. Mr Lawrie has already indicated that he intends to leave Misys to take up a new position at Computer Sciences Corporation.

That leaves Vista in the potentially awkward position of needing a new chief executive should it win the bid battle. Under the Temenos deal, the key management roles would have been filled by Guy DuBois, chief executive of Temenos, and Andreas Andreades, the Swiss company's chairman.

Vista Equity Partners recently bought Kondor, Thomson Reuters' trading and risk management business. Analysts believe this could be merged with Misys.

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