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GTCR Says it Won’t Bid for UK Software Company GB Group

(Bloomberg) -- Private equity firm GTCR said that it won’t make an offer for UK software firm GB Group Plc after previously disclosing it was weighing a cash bid.

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GB Group confirmed that early stage talks with its board had ended after the two companies couldn’t agree on terms in a separate statement on Tuesday.

GB Group shares dropped 19% to 497.20 pence in London trading at 11:47 a.m. giving the company a market value of about £1.3 billion ($1.5 billion). The stock had earlier dropped as much as 20%, the biggest intraday decline since 2016.

UK-based tech companies, which generally fetch lower valuations than peers in the US, are attractive to foreign buyers, with the number of deals nearly doubling in the last five years through 2021, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In the last year, Canada’s Open Text Corp. made an offer for Micro Focus International Plc and France’s Schneider Electric SE bid for the rest of Aveva Group Plc it didn’t own.

Read More: GBG Jumps Most in 4 Years as Analysts Predict More Suitors

Still, GTCR’s decision follows another reversal from a US investor. In early September, private equity firm Thoma Bravo said it did not intend to make a takeover offer for cybersecurity firm Darktrace, after failing to agree on a price for a final offer.

GB Group, which makes fraud-prevention software, is in a sweet-spot in an industry that’s been attractive to buyout firms, analysts from Liberum and Canaccord Genuity said after GTCR disclosed the talks last month. Other private equity bidders may emerge, analysts said at the time.

(Updates with additional statement from GBG in second paragraph)

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