D-day for Aveva as French takeover approaches: shareholders vote on the future of the British tech champion
The future of British tech champion Aveva will be decided today as votes are counted for a controversial takeover by France’s Schneider Electric.
Aveva is one of the few big tech players on the London Stock Exchange alongside Darktrace, Sage and Softcat.
He has struck a deal that would see Paris-based Schneider buy the 41% of the company he doesn’t already own, for 3225p a share.
National asset: Aveva is one of the few big tech players on the London Stock Exchange alongside Darktrace, Sage and Softcat
But the deal, which values Aveva at £10billion, is in the balance and needs shareholder backing at a meeting today.
If they approve it, Aveva will be taken off the market, which will hurt the UK’s credibility as a hub for innovative tech companies.
Jeremy Hunt has promised to make the UK the “world’s next Silicon Valley” by combining the country’s scientific and technological prowess with its “tremendous financial services”.
But the deal would mark a first setback for those plans. London has struggled to attract top tech companies despite repeated efforts by Conservative governments over the past decade.
The Aveva takeover requires the approval of at least 75 percent of minority shareholders in tomorrow’s vote.
Since Schneider cannot vote, it would only take about 10% of all shareholders to reject him for the deal to be blocked.
Jupiter, M&G Investments, Davidson Kempner and Canadian company Mawer have publicly announced that they will vote against the deal.
Another top 20 investor joined but did not want to be named.
Schneider and Aveva engaged this week in a last-ditch effort to build support for the offer as it unravels.
And to give Schneider a boost, Aveva’s largest shareholder, Dr. Patrick Kennedy, backed the deal.
Kennedy got a 4.2% stake in the company when she bought her company Osisoft, a US rival of Aveva, two years ago.
The deal will see Kennedy take a whopping £420m windfall from his stake.
Concerns have also been raised about Schneider’s joint venture with Chinese conglomerate Delixi Electric over security concerns.
Critics say that if Aveva is taken over, its proprietary technology risks falling into Chinese hands.
Originating from the University of Cambridge in the 1960s, Aveva provides software to help engineers design large industrial projects as well as products that help keep factories running.