UK RPA firm Blue Prism acquired in $1.1bn deal

UK robotic process automation (RPA) software company Blue Prism has agreed to a £1.1 billion takeover by US private equity firm Vista Equity Partners.

RPA software looks to automate repetitive digital tasks normally performed by people, such as extracting data from documents or filling in forms.

The Warrington-based software firm, founded in 2001, claims its client base includes Fidelity, Daimler, eBay, and the NHS.

Vista is set to pay £11.25 per share of Blue Prism, a 35 per cent premium on its closing share price of £8.32.

When the deal is finalised, Vista said it will transfer ownership of Blue Prism to Tibco, a Silicon Valley-based enterprise data firm which it also owns.

The private equity company acquired Tibco in 2014 for $4.3 billion.

The deal is not the first high profile acquisition of a publicly traded software company by a private equity firm in 2021.

Private equity firm Thoma Bravo purchased cybersecurity firm Proofpoint in an all-cash deal that valued the company at $12.3 billion in August.

Data analytics firm Cloudera also agreed to go private in a $5.3 billion private equity buyout led by KKR and Clayton Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) in June.

The RPA market to set for continued growth; analyst house IDC predicted in a 2020 report that the overall value of the RPA market will hit $2 billion this year and $5.9 billion by 2024.

According to Gartner, Blue Prism is one of the top three vendors in the RPA space alongside Automation Anywhere and UiPath.

Romanian-founded competitor UiPath hit a $1.3 billion valuation in its April IPO on the New York Stock Exchange.

The deal is still pending the approval of Blue Prism’s shareholders and regulators.

“Combining with Vista and TIBCO will ensure we remain at the forefront of the next generation of intelligent automation,” said Jason Kingdon, chairman and chief executive of Blue Prism. “We can expand the range of products we offer our customers, with TIBCO’s global footprint and technologies; and, as a privately owned company, we will also have greater access to capital to pursue new growth opportunities via product investment and other potential M&A.”

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