Support services vendor Phoenix IT Group has formally entered the race to acquire ICM Computer Group, with a cash-and-share bid worth over 94m pounds ($185m).
Phoenix said it was offering 441.5 pence per ICM share, made up of 230 pence in cash and 0.6176 of a Phoenix share. A mix-and-match facility will allow ICM shareholders to vary the proportions in which they receive cash and Phoenix shares in exchange for their holdings.
Leeds, UK-based ICM, a maintenance and support services provider, has been at the center of takeover speculation since last October when Netstore Plc attempted a reverse takeover, offering 10 of its own shares for each ICM share. ICM rejected the bid, saying it was not in its best interests, while at the same time revealing that it had received interest from another potential suitor. Speculation at the time linked Phoenix with a move for ICM, but no official announcement was forthcoming.
In January, ICM gave the green light for chief executive Steve Wainwright, finance director Craig Fairey, and operations director Anthony Granelli to explore the possibility of a management buy-out. With the backing of private equity firm Gresham and operating under the name Fawkes Ltd, the management team made an offer of 401.5 pence per share earlier this month.
However, in anticipation of a bid from Phoenix, Fawkes then upped its bid considerably, to 433 pence per share in cash, valuing ICM at 92.4m pounds ($181.6m).
Responding to the Phoenix bid, Fawkes said it was considering its response and will make a further announcement in due course.