Misys, a leading supplier of software to the banking industry, saw its market value soar to nearly £1.5bn after it revealed a takeover approach.
The disclosure from Misys, which has offices in Worcester and London and employs 4,000 people worldwide, ends weeks of speculation that the group was a bid target.
Shares in the group jumped 9 per cent to a new 10-year high of 418.9p, valuing the group at £1.4bn. Misys gave no indication over who the bidder might be, but in recent weeks market talk has mentioned the US firms Sungard and FIS Global as possible bidders.
The company has more than 1,200 bank customers and is also a major supplier of back-office and trading systems to fund managers and traders. It has seen its value rise sharply over the past three years following the sale of its majority holding in the AllScripts US healthcare business last year, which resulted in a cash return of nearly £700m to Misys shareholders.
Misys shares have risen from 310p in March as takeover talk has persisted. Analysts suggested a bid for the company seemed inevitable given the group's strong market positions in software banking, and treasury and capital markets, and improved financial position following the recent restructuring carried out by its chief executive, Mike Lawrie, which included the Allscripts disposal.
Misys released a statement yesterday which read: "The board... confirms it has received a preliminary approach that may or may not lead to an offer being made for the company."
Milan Radia, a broker at Jeffries, said Misys would appeal to a number of potential bidders, such as Tata Consultancy or Infosys, which are looking to build an international presence. He added that while Misys was well positioned, "it could deliver more value to a potential bidder".