Blackstone talks to buy NCR in peril, say sources: Reuters

Private equity firm Blackstone Group LP (BX.N) has so far not been able to reach a deal to acquire NCR Corp (NCR.N) or find a partner to help fund a bid worth up to $10 billion, including debt, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Blackstone had been taking a fresh look at the Duluth, Georgia-based manufacturer of cash registers and automated teller machines but negotiations have stalled in recent days, the sources said.

Among the New York-based buyout firm’s concerns is how much equity it would need to raise for the deal, the sources said.

Blackstone had most recently discussed partnering with Bain Capital LLC on a potential bid, the sources said. Earlier this summer, it had teamed up with Carlyle Group (CG.O), Reuters reported at the time. Both these partnerships fell apart because of disagreements over price, according to the sources.

The sources cautioned that a breakthrough in the negotiations could not be ruled out and asked not to be identified because the talks are confidential. Blackstone, Carlyle and Bain declined to comment. An NCR spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

NCR’s shares have dropped more than 20 percent in the last 12 months, and its shareholders have been pressuring the company to explore a sale or other options. Hedge fund Marcato Capital Management LP has been calling on NCR since last year to explore strategic alternatives, and now holds a seat on its board of directors.

Private equity firm Thoma Bravo LLC has also held talks to acquire NCR but could not agree on terms.

NCR, which was founded more than a century ago, has been trying to expand into the software sector. It recently launched a cloud-based software system for ATMs called Kalpana that is meant to replace outdated PC software on the machines and help owners cut costs. It also makes self-checkout machines for retailers.