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By | Kelly Fiveash 9th August 2007 13:59

Jilted Apax gets second bite at GFI Informatique

Private equity firm buys shares as Fujitsu bid closes

Private equity group Apax Partners has closed in on leading French reseller GFI Informatique, having taken a 15 per cent stake in the firm.

In a surprise move, Apax bought the shares on 7 August, the eve of Fujitsu's bid closing, raising doubts over the Japanese PC vendor's chances of securing the 66.7 per cent shareholder backing required for its €8.5 per share offer to succeed.

The private equity firm, which had been previously brushed to one side by GFI, now holds 14.93 per cent of the firm's enlarged share capital.

In late May it looked set to take a 27 per cent holding in GFI before Fujitsu entered the fray with an attractive counterbid that saw the GFI board rethink the agreement it had with Apax.

But in a statement issued 1 August, GFI appeared to have again changed its tune. It said: "Fujitsu Services has just disclosed that the initial terms and conditions of its public offer for the shares of our company are not expected to change.

"The board of directors of GFI Informatique has already made known its strong opposition to an unsolicited, hostile bid that lacks clarity at the industrial, managerial, and employee levels."

Fujitsu Services, a wholly owned UK subsidiary of Fujitsu Ltd, said it will not know the result of its public tender offer to buy GFI until 14 August or later.

GFI is currently trading at €7.85 on the Paris stock exchange, up 1.29 per cent. ®

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