A Freudian deal?

We’ve run a lot of different analyses on transactions, but AccessData’s proposed acquisition of Guidance Software is the first one we’ve ever subjected to Freudian analysis. What do we mean? Well, almost all of the executives at AccessData, a private data forensics software vendor, used to work at publicly traded Guidance. (AccessData’s CEO, COO and two VPs are former employees of the company they are now bidding on.)

After its initial bid a month ago was rebuffed, AccessData took public on Tuesday its offer of $4.50 for each share of Guidance. With about 23 million shares outstanding, the proposed transaction values Guidance at about $105m. However, debt-free Guidance holds $28m in cash, lowering the enterprise value of the bid to about $77m. Guidance is expected to record about $90m in sales this year. In comparison, AccessData is about one-third that size, primarily because it doesn’t have any services revenue.

We understand AccessData, which has never taken outside funding, plans to finance the deal internally, if it goes through. Guidance has rejected the bid. And, although AccessData has threatened to take its unsolicited proposal directly to shareholders, a tender offer is unlikely to go through unless it gets the blessing of one Guidance executive: Chairman and CTO Shawn McCreight, who founded the company and owns some 44% of its stock. If nothing else, AccessData’s bid will make Guidance’s third-quarter conference call on Thursday more interesting.