Actian persuading Pervasive to go private

Contact: Ben Kolada, Thejeswi Venkatesh

After a tough 15 years in the public spotlight, Pervasive Software may have finally found a graceful exit. The data integration vendor, whose revenue has flattened since the turn of the century, today announced that it has received an unsolicited $154m buyout offer from Actian.

Pervasive would be wise to accept the offer, as the Austin, Texas-based company had done little to excite investors during its public lifetime. The company’s annual revenue has been roughly in the $40-50m range ever since 2000, and its shares have appreciated less than the broad, tech-heavy Nasdaq.

The lackluster performance factored into today’s offer. Actian’s bid values Pervasive at 2.3 times trailing sales. The best comparable deal is IBM’s Cast Iron Systems pickup in May 2010, which we estimate was valued at 6.7x revenue. And Boomi took an estimated 20x valuation in its sale to Dell in November 2011, though that target was much smaller. In fact, had it not been for Pervasive’s strong cash balance, the deal value would have been much less palatable. Pervasive held $42m in cash and no debt as of June. That treasury reduces the acquisition’s total cost to Actian by more than one-third.

Pressuring Pervasive’s shareholders to act on the offer, Actian is taking an unusually persuasive tone in its acquisition announcement, blatantly pointing out that its offer is the highest closing price reached by Pervasive’s common shares in the past 10 years. The deal carries a 30% premium to Pervasive’s closing share price on Friday, August 10.

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