Neuberger, Apax in talks to buy stake in Italy’s Engineering: Reuters

Private equity funds Neuberger Berman and Apax Partners are in talks to buy a controlling stake in Italian software company Engineering (ENG.MI) and would offer to buy the remaining shares at 58 euros each if their bid succeeds.

That price, just above the stock’s closing price on Tuesday, would value the IT services company at 725 million euros. Engineering employs 7,800 people and had sales of 853 million euros last year.

The funds have entered exclusive talks with shareholders Michele Cinaglia and Marilena Menicucci, as well as with some Engineering managers, to buy their stakes, the company said, confirming comments from a source close the matter to Reuters earlier on Wednesday.

Shares in Engineering rose more than 10 percent on Wednesday to 63.90 euros as news of the interest from Neuberger and Apax, first reported by the Il Sole 24 Ore daily, fueled gains.

The stock, which was briefly suspended from trading, fell 0.8 percent to 57.35 euros by 1327 GMT.

“A large majority of the board has voted in favor of starting a four-week long due diligence,” Engineering said.

According to market regulator Consob, Cinaglia and Menicucci hold together 35 percent of Engineering.

By purchasing such a stake, Neuberger and Apax are forced to launch a tender offer on the rest of the shares under Italian law. Engineering said it would be delisted after the buyout.

Other significant shareholders are funds One Equity Partners and Bestinver that hold around 29 percent and 10 percent of Engineering, respectively.