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By | Drew Cullen 28th May 2007 19:19

Fujitsu wagons circle GFI Informatique

Hostile territory

Fujitsu Services has formally published an unsolicited offer to buy GFI Informatique, the leading French reseller. The €419m ($569m) offer represents a premium of 19.5 per cent over GFI's closing price last week, the company says.

With GFI under its wing, Fujitsu Services would gain a much stronger coverage in France and Spain.

It is too early to call the bid definitively hostile - but certainly it is not friendly. GFI says Fujitsu's offer is too low and it is "not convinced the unsolicited offer matched its business plan", the FT reports. The company has hired an investment bank to seek other options - in other words, a white knight that will keep the current management in place, or a stalking horse to squeeze a higher offer from Fujitsu.

In January, GFI announced it wanted to take Apax Partners on board as a shareholder. In return, it would receive a capital injection of €56m to bolster the balance sheet and support acquisitions. This required shareholder approval, but before this was put to the vote, Fujitsu stepped in with an indicative offer to buy the whole company. The ambush worked: last Thursday (May 24), GFI announced that it no longer ask shareholders to approve the capital increase. Of course, with Fujitsu as its parent, GFI would never again need to dilute shares for growth.

In 2005, GFI withdrew from the UK and several other Northern European countries, citing lack of scale in those markets. ®

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