Actuate: A bit or the whole thing?

Contact: Brenon Daly

It turns out that Actuate may have some competition for its own stock. A month ago, the enterprise reporting veteran announced plans to buy back some $60m worth of its own equity, at $3.15-3.40 per share (Jefferies & Co. is running the process). Under those terms, the buyback would have removed up to 19 million shares from a base of about 65.5 million.

However, since Actuate revealed the tender offer on November 5, the markets have continued to plummet, with the Nasdaq slumping almost 20%. Accordingly, Actuate trimmed the price it was willing to pay for its own shares to $2.20-2.60 each. On Thursday, it bumped up the range to $3.00-3.50. What prompted the boost? Was it a holiday gift from the company to its shareholders, who have seen their stock drop nearly 70% over the past year?

As it happens, Actuate raised the price of the planned buyback because an unnamed party offered $3.50 per share for the whole company. Actuate’s board said the unsolicited proposal, which would value the company at nearly $230m, is not in shareholders’ ‘best interests.’ While it’s uncertain how the mysterious unsolicited offer and the tender offer will play out, it seems pretty clear that one way or another, some Actuate shares are going to come off the board.