Push-back on the markdown

Rather than the current M&A market being a place where buyers and sellers meet on more or less equal footing, current deals clearly show that acquirers have the upper hand (if you’ll forgive the mixed anatomical metaphor). We’ve already noted how some would-be buyers have pushed for ‘recalibrations’ in deal prices and, for the most part, have gotten these discounts.

However, one target isn’t just sitting by for a markdown. I2, which agreed to be acquired by JDA Software Group in mid-August, has told its bargain-minded buyer that it plans to hold to the original terms of the deal. Under those terms, i2’s common shareholders would pocket $14.86 for each share. (There are also payments to satisfy i2 convertible holders, giving the proposed transaction an enterprise value of $346m.)

I2 shares traded close to the bid up until Wednesday, when JDA told i2 it wanted the company to delay its shareholder vote. I2 went ahead and held the meeting as scheduled Thursday, with more than 80% of shareholders voting for the deal. The company says it has done everything it needed to do to close the deal and ‘expects’ JDA to do the same. The market doesn’t share that expectation. Instead, it anticipates that JDA will trim its bid. I2 shares dropped $4 on Wednesday and sank again on Thursday, closing at $9. That’s almost 40% below the original offer price. In case anyone is curious, terms call for a breakup fee of $15m or $20m, depending on the split.