A new bid for Borland?

Contact: Brenon Daly

Nearly a month after Micro Focus and Borland announced their planned combination, a pair of after-the-fact bidders pushed Micro Focus to reach a little deeper into its pockets for the application lifecycle management vendor. Now we’re hearing that one of the mystery suitors may well come back with a higher offer. As it stands, Borland shareholders are set to vote on Micro Focus’ bid of $1.15 in cash for each Borland share, or a total of some $92m, on July 22.

However, several sources have indicated that one unidentified party that previously floated a range of $1.10-1.20 per Borland share may well be preparing a bid that would top the existing offer from Micro Focus. The identity of that suitor has never been revealed, and is referred to as ‘Company A’ in the proxy filings. (We suspect, but have not confirmed, that Company A could be Embarcadero Technologies, which went private two years ago in a $200m buyout by Thoma Cressey Bravo. Following a split, TCB now goes by the name Thoma Bravo.) The proxy adds that Company A originally approached Borland with an unsolicited offer in June 2008, and has been more or less present during the process since then. Borland has dismissed several rounds of interest by Company A because of questions about its ability to pay for the deal.

While Company A may or may not come back with a higher offer, the other suitor that emerged after Micro Focus and Borland agreed to their deal – an unnamed private equity firm referred to as ‘Company E’ – will not be dusting off its bid, according to the proxy. Company E has never been identified, but we have a pretty strong suspicion that it could be a recently launched investment firm in the Boston area called 2SV Capital. Calls to the firm weren’t returned.

Certainly, a number of signs point to 2SV Capital as one of Borland’s mystery bidders. Two of the three partners in the firm certainly know the Borland business well, having worked together on the sale of Segue Software in early 2006 to Borland. (As we noted in a recent report on the pending sale of Borland, the Segue business is essentially the main reason why Micro Focus is interested in Borland.) 2SV Capital founder Richard Vieira, who was then working for Jefferies & Co, advised Segue, which was at the time headed up by Joe Krivickas, on the sale to Borland. (Krivickas recently joined Vieira at 2SV Capital.) If indeed 2SV Capital were interested, we suspect the buyout shop wouldn’t have needed to spend too much time on due diligence, given their understanding of the business.