Acquisition-Related Case against Sage Is Dropped; LAW

The Journal (Newcastle, England), August 29, 2015 | Go to article overview

Acquisition-Related Case against Sage Is Dropped; LAW


Byline: TOM KEIGHLEY tom.keighley@ncjmedia.co.uk

SOFTWARE giant Sage Group says a multi-million-pound lawsuit against it by Australian private equity firm Archer Capital has been dropped.

A claim for damages by Archer Capital and shareholders of Australian software business MYOB over failed acquisition talks has been dismissed.

It follows a lengthy legal battle stemming from 2011, when Sage became the preferred bidder for MYOB - an accounting software provider based in Victoria.

Sage initially agreed to buy the business for AU$1.3bn in a written offer "subject to contract".

Various confidential documents were provided to Sage for the purposes of due diligence, and Sage subsequently reduced its offer.

MYOB was eventually sold to US private equity firm Bain Capital for AU$1.045bn. Shareholders of MYOB - including Archer Capital - claimed damages amounting to the difference between the two considerations, from Sage, for "breach of contract, misleading and deceptive conduct and an action estoppel".

In a note to shareholders, Sage said it now intended to recover costs from its defence of proceedings.

A statement from the firm said: "The Sage Group plc notes that judgment has been received in respect of the claim for damages made by the former shareholders of MYOB (including funds managed by Archer Capital ("the Applicants") relating to Sage's potential purchase of MYOB in 2011.

"The Applicants' claims have been dismissed on all counts and Sage will be taking steps to recover costs incurred by it in defending the proceedings."

Typically deals are only discussed subject to contract and binding agreements usually only cover confi-dentiality and an exclusivity period for those talks.

Kevin Turnbull, a partner at Newcastle-based TT Law, said matters of pre-contractual discussions were complex. …

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