Aug. 12--US private equity fund Francisco Partner is in initial talks to buy Israeli software company Sapiens International NV (Nasdaq: SPNS; TASE: SPNS) from Formula Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: FORTY; TASE: FORT). At this stage there have been no active efforts by Formula to sell the company and the interest has come from Francisco.
At the end of July, it was reported that Alfa Group had held talks previously to buy Sapiens for $420 million but Formula had broken off talks over the price.
Formula is under no pressure to realize its assets. It has $100 million in cash in the company's coffers and recently took a private loan of NIS 200 million from Menorah Mivtachim Holdings Ltd. (TASE: MORA). Formula's holdings include Sapiens, Magic Software Enterprises Ltd. (Nasdaq: MGIC; TASE: MGIC) and Matrix IT Ltd. (TASE:MTRX) and the Group is looking for more acquisitions.
Dual listed on Nasdaq and the TASE, Sapiens share price is $8, giving a market cap of $355 million. Formula holds 47.7% of Sapiens equity worth about $170 million. Sapiens share price has doubled over the past two years but is still short of its peak price of $8.50 in 2001. In 2006 it was forced to seek a debt settlement with its bondholders but in recent years under CEO Roni Al-Dor the company has taken successful strategic measures.
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