Chordiant hits the bid

Contact: Brenon Daly

When Chordiant Software received an unsolicited offer from CDC Software in early January, we were pretty certain that deal had roughly 0% chance of getting done. We noted that Chordiant had a poison pill in place that would make it extremely difficult – and time-consuming – for CDC to finalize the deal. Since a quick close was one of the key concerns for CDC in its bid for Chordiant, we weren’t at all surprised to see the serial buyer pull its cash-and-stock offer just a week after floating it.

In addition to the timing, there was also the consideration that Chordiant shares traded above CDC’s offer the entire time it was out there. (In this case, investors agreed with Chordiant’s contention that the bid ‘undervalued’ the company.) That meant CDC would most likely have to reach a little deeper into its pocket to get the deal done. Although CDC indicated that it may well bump its bid, most observers expected the company to walk. (That’s just how the process played out three years ago, when CDC launched an unsolicited offer for another CRM vendor, Onyx Software, only to come away empty-handed.)

Flip the calendar ahead two months, and Chordiant (advised by Morgan Stanley) has pulled off a pretty rare trick: stiff-arming that unwelcome bid and then securing a richer payday for shareholders. (Most cases tend to look more like Yahoo, which is trading at half the level that Microsoft offered for the company two years ago. Yahoo shares have lost 20% of their value since Microsoft floated its bid, while the Nasdaq has flat-lined in that period.) And Chordiant didn’t just hold out for a nickel or a dime more for its shareholders. It got the highest price for its shares in a year and a half.

Under terms announced Monday, Pegasystems will pay $5 in cash for each share of Chordiant, for a total equity value of $161.5m. That’s 54% more than CDC thought the company was worth, and enough to get Chordiant’s board to (wisely) hit the bid from Pegasystems. Speaking of Chordiant’s board, we would note that chairman Steven Springsteel, who also serves as CEO, is now four for four in terms of helping to sell the companies where he held executive roles. As we noted three and a half years ago, when we first opined that Chordiant probably wasn’t a stand-alone vendor, Springsteel had seen a trio of his previous companies get gobbled up.

Bids for Chordiant

Date Suitor Offer Equity value EV/TTM sales multiple Status
January 8, 2010 CDC Software $3.46 per share $105m 0.7x Aborted
March 15, 2010 Pegasystems $5 per share $161.5 1.4x Closing in Q2

Source: The 451 M&A KnowledgeBase