Sources: Final Bidders for Double-Take Narrowed to Three Buyout Shops

May.11.10 | About: Double-Take Software, (DBTK)

By Brenon Daly

The final bidders for Double-Take Software (DBTK) have narrowed to three buyout shops, and a purchase of the file-replication software vendor could be announced within the next two weeks, we have learned. The company said a month ago that an undisclosed bidder had approached it about a possible transaction.

A number of sources have pointed to Vector Capital as the unidentified suitor, adding that the firm is one of the three bidders still in the running. Although we speculated early on that Double-Take’s two main channel partners (Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ)) might be interested, we understand now that there aren’t any strategic bidders currently at the table.

The price couldn’t immediately be learned, but we suspect there won’t be a huge premium for the company, which was trading at $9.36 on Monday afternoon. The reason? Double-Take recently trimmed its sales outlook for 2010, essentially saying it doesn’t expect to grow this year. It recently guided to about $86m in sales for 2010, about 10% lower than it had expected earlier this year. It finished the recession-wracked 2009 with revenue of $83m, down from $96m in 2008.

Even without growth, Double-Take undoubtedly holds some appeal to a private equity (PE) firm. For starters, the company is cheap. It currently sports a market capitalization of just $200m, but nearly half that amount is made of its cash and short-term investments. (The company held $89m in its treasury at the end of the first quarter.)

With an enterprise value of only $111m, Double-Take now garners just 1.3x projected sales. Another way to look at it: even with a decent premium to the company’s current valuation, a buyer could still pick up Double-Take for about 4x maintenance revenue. Small wonder that a few PE shops are still considering a Double-Take takeout.