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NHS automation firm Blue Prism in £1.1 billion US buyout

·2-min read
Blue Prism helped automate the process of PPE ordering last year  (PA Archive)
Blue Prism helped automate the process of PPE ordering last year (PA Archive)

Blue Prism, the software firm that helped the NHS order PPE during the pandemic, is set to be sold for £1.1 billion in the latest takeover of a UK tech company by a foreign buyer.

The developer, which builds software to automate back-office tasks like invoicing and compliance checks, has reached a deal with US tech backer Vista to go private at 1125p per share.

As part of the all-cash deal, Blue Prism will merge with another Vista-owned software business, TIBCO.

Vista has triumphed over TPG Capital, which also held takeover talks with the AIM-listed firm. The winning offer represents a 35% premium to Blue Prism’s undisturbed share price.

Blue Prism’s board is recommending shareholders approve the deal. It so far has support from investors holding just under a quarter of the stock. Shares, which have soared since the company disclosed deal talks a month ago, dipped 2.8% to 1155p today.

Investors “will no doubt have hoped for more”, Jefferies analysts said.

Blue Prism was founded in Warrington in 2001 and listed on AIM in 2015. It has grown rapidly and now works with companies including EY, Jaguar Land Rover, Siemens, and Google. Last year, its software helped automate pandemic PPE ordering for the NHS.

The deal to go private comes as Blue Prism faces increased competition from the likes of Microsoft and UiPath.

UiPath, which was founded in Romania in 2005, raised $1.3 billion in an IPO on New York’s Nasdaq in April. It is currently valued at $27 billion.

Blue Prism chairman and CEO Jason Kingdon said going private would help the company “remain at the forefront of the next generation of intelligent automation” by giving the business “greater access to capital to pursue new growth opportunities.”

Kingdon’s stake in the business means a sale would net him roughly £65 million, while co-founder Alastair Bathgate is in line for just over £50 million.

It is the latest in a growing number of British companies being sold to overseas buyers as foreign investors take advantage of depressed valuations.

Vista manages $81 billion and only invests in enterprise software businesses. US-based TIBCO, one of its companies, sells data management and analytics software and works with over 10,000 companies around the world, including 50% of the world’s 500 biggest businesses.

“Together, Blue Prism and TIBCO will provide access to a suite of Intelligent Automation capabilities to help accelerate digital transformation,” TIBCO’s chief executive Dan Streetman said.

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