NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A New Orleans-based private equity group is bidding to buyout a publicly traded Silicon Valley tech firm, a deal that has the potential to bring 65 jobs to the New Orleans area.
The Louisiana Buyout Fund has submitted a proposal to acquire Versant Corp. of Redwood City, Cal. for $12 per share in case. The price is based on Versant's Sept. 28 closing price at $9.85 per share.
Versant, a publicly traded company founded in 1988, provides enterprise software for a number of industries, including telecommunications, energy, financial services, and defense. The company generates about $15.1 million in annual revenue.
The Louisiana Buyout Fund looks to outbid Unicom Systems, an international network systems solutions firm, which offered to buy Versant for $11.50 per share earlier this month. Versant announced its definitive agreement with Unicom earlier this month for $32 million. The Louisiana Buyout Fund terms put its offer at nearly $33.4 million.
Ron Bienvenu, managing partner for the fund, said a deal would not be contingent on Versant relocating to Louisiana, but a move could be a large part of cost-cutting and streamlining the company if its board accepts the bid.
The fund intends on converting Versant from a public to a private company, a structure Bienvenu said it sees as more beneficial for the company's size. He said Versant can also benefit from state incentives, including the digital media tax credit, as well as Louisiana's low cost of doing business compared with Silicon Valley.
"Our goal is to build a healthy business that is focused on customers and product quality," Bienvenu said. "We can take a long term view on that goal by taking advantage of state incentives and other cost savings locally."
The Louisiana Buyout Fund acquired AlqemyIQ and Process Software, two Massachusetts tech firms, earlier this year, combining the two operations and relocating company headquarters and a majority of its 40 employees to New Orleans. Bienvenu said cost savings tied to the relocation helped the company invest in and roll out a new enterprise software product last month.
"In California, Massachusetts and New York, it's so expensive to do business that we're finding a lot of opportunity to buy companies and create profitable, sustainable businesses by moving them here," Bienvenu said.
The fund retained an important data center for Process Software and AlqemyIQ in Framingham, Mass. and will likely have to retain key Versant assets in California and Europe if it the fund acquires the company. But management and select technical staff could be relocated, he said.
Versant Corp. will be the first publicly traded company in the Louisiana Buyout Fund's portfolio should the deal go through.