Sherwood accepts £65m US offer

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The software and IT services company Sherwood International agreed to a £65m cash offer from the US technology giant SunGard.

Directors at Sherwood had been attempting a management buyout, but they bowed out to the value of the SunGard deal yesterday, which offered 140p in cash per share. Mike Shinya, chief executive, and Mark Williams, finance director, had made preliminary discussions in April about taking the company private for between 105p and 110p.

The board said at the time, however, that it was considering a number of options and had received approaches from third parties. The whole board, including the executive directors involved in the buyout plan, agreed to 140p a share cash offer from SunGard, which represents a 12 per cent premium to Wednesday's closing price.

Mr Shinya will make an estimated £98,000 from his shareholding in Sherwood, plus another £840,000 from share options listed in the latest annual report. Mr Williams will make £28,000 from his shareholding and around £18,000 from share options.

SunGard yesterday bought up 29.46 per cent of the company's share capital at 140p. Shares yesterday closed up 9.4 per cent at 139.5p.

"Over the past few months we have been considering all strategic options for the company. It is in the opinion of the directors that the offer from SunGard is in the best interest of shareholders and will enable Sherwood to be better able to build greater scale," Ken Andrew, chairman of Sherwood, said. Sherwood specialises in providing technology to insurance companies and its clients include Aviva, Axa and Scottish Equitable.

SunGard, which also specialises in financial services technology, promised to safeguard as many of the 497 jobs at Sherwood, which is headquartered in Surrey.