ASX-listed Altium rejects $3.9 billion Autodesk bid, saying it 'undervalues' company

(Reuters) -Australia-listed software maker Altium on Monday rejected a buyout proposal from U.S. peer Autodesk Inc as undervaluing the company but kept the door open for a better offer, helping its shares end at near six-month highs.

Autodesk, which makes architecture designing software AutoCAD, offered Altium A$38.50 per share, a 41.5% premium to its last closing price, valuing the company at A$5.05 billion ($3.91 billion).

San Diego, California-based Altium said it “rejects the proposal at the current price”, adding it will entertain interested parties for an appropriate valuation and pursue a “review of all potential strategic alternatives”.

Shares closed 39% higher at A$37.83 after soaring as much as 40.6% to post their biggest intraday gain in more than a decade following the announcement.

Through Friday’s close, shares had lost about 20% of their value this year. The company in February reported a near 15% drop in profit attributable to $19.7 million for its half-year ended December.

The proposal followed talks of a strategic partnership between the two companies, with Autodesk looking to integrate Altium’s electronics designing software with its engineering and manufacturing software platforms to provide its users with a host of applications under one cloud network.

The “at the current price” phrasing potentially alludes to the willingness to complete a deal at a higher price, analysts at brokerage RBC Capital said in a note.

“It is unlikely Autodesk would return with a materially higher bid for Altium. However, Autodesk may incrementally increase its offer to gain further engagement from Altium’s board,” the analysts added.

When asked by Reuters, a spokesperson for Autodesk said the company was willing to engage further with Altium.

Autodesk said it would finance a transaction using cash and debt.

($1 = 1.2923 Australian dollars)

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