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U.K.’s Blue Prism becomes the latest target of U.S. private equity

U.K.'s Blue Prism becomes the latest target of U.S. private equity

September 3, 2021:-Robotics firm Blue Prism became the latest in a line of British companies to attract the attention of U.S. private equity firms, but one high-profile shareholder is urging not to sell.

Blue Prism shares surged on Wednesday after confirming that it had entered discussions with TPG Capital and Vista Equity Partners. Although, it stressed, “there can be no certainty that any offer will be made, nor as to the terms of which offer would be made.”

It comes following supermarket chain Morrisons, infrastructure group John Laing and aerospace company Cobham were all the subject to transatlantic private equity approaches in recent months.

Blue Prism, one of the largest tech firms on the London Stock Exchange AIM market, uses robotic process automation software to hire a digital workforce to perform business back-office tasks.

On Tuesday, however, in a letter sent to Blue Prism’s management team, seen by CNBC, shareholder Coast Capital, a notable activist investor behind opposition to the sale of the First Group its U.S. businesses, expressed concern about the company’s valuation.

Coast Capital believes Blue Prism is undervalued, and it would be a mistake to be okay to a takeover at the share price.

“As you are well aware, the Enterprise Value of Blue Prism PLC is presently valued at almost three times forward revenues, an 80% to 90% discount to the peers of the company including UiPath, Appian, WorkFusion, Automation Anywhere, etc.,” the letter from Coast Capital said.

“Were a buyer to pay a premium of 100%, the share price would be materially lower than its intrinsic value, and below where the shares were trading as of January 2021.”

Coast Capital CEO James Rasteh said Blue Prism faced several issues — such as product gaps in its portfolio, its position on the junior stock exchange of London, and its geographical distance from many vital clients — but these could be overcome. He said Coast worked with sector experts to devise an operational improvement plan to boost revenue growth and increase.

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