Aveva investors back improved offer from Schneider Electric

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Aveva shareholders have backed an improved offer for the UK software developer from France’s Schneider Electric, ending a takeover battle that will strip the London market of one of its major technology companies.

The two companies said on Friday that enough investors had accepted Schneider’s revised price of £32.25 per share, an increase on an initial bid of £31 per share that some had rejected as opportunistic. Including debt, the deal values Aveva at £10.6bn.

The new offer is a more than 40 per cent premium to Aveva’s share price in August, when Schneider, which first acquired 60 per cent of the software group in 2017, disclosed that it wanted to acquire the rest of the company.

Aveva, whose software is focused on the energy, infrastructure and manufacturing sectors, is one of Britain’s oldest tech companies and was spun out of Cambridge university in the 1960s. It is also one of the most successful tech groups to emerge from the cluster around Cambridge known as “Silicon Fen”.

Schneider took its majority stake in Aveva in a £3bn reverse takeover, which merged the UK company with Schneider’s software division.

The companies said on Friday that just over 83 per cent of Aveva’s voting shareholders approved the higher offer, exceeding the 75 per cent threshold required by the scheme of arrangement, a court-approved agreement between Schneider and Aveva’s shareholders.

Schneider has overcome earlier opposition from big Aveva shareholders including hedge fund Davidson Kempner and long-only managers Canada-based Mawer Investment Management and M&G Investments.

They had said they would reject the original offer, saying it was an opportunistic attempt to take advantage of the recent weakness in Aveva’s share price.

Schneider has said that a full takeover of Aveva would allow a “faster execution of Schneider Electric’s software growth strategy”.

Following the takeover, Aveva will retain its Cambridge headquarters and an autonomous team. Schneider has said it wants to help the company move to a subscription-based model and co-operate with it in areas such as research and development.

This article has been amended to correct the new offer price Aveva shareholders have backed

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