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Tieto, Apax among bidders for Norway IT firm Evry, say sources-Reuters

(Reuters) – Finnish technology firm Tieto and European private equity firm Apax are among the bidders for Evry, one of the Nordic region’s largest IT services companies, four sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.

Evry, which has a current market capitalization of 4.57 billion Norwegian crowns ($701.2 million), said in August that it was considering selling itself, sending shares up as much as 35 percent.

Second-round bids for the Oslo-listed firm are due in mid-November. Tieto, Apax and a further private equity firm are the only bidders left in the process, two of the sources said.

Evry, Tieto and Apax were not immediately available to comment.

Public-to-private deals typically command a premium of 20-30 percent on the company’s share price. Apax is currently purchasing Dutch software company Exact for 32 euros a share in cash, a premium of 27 percent to the firm’s closing share price on 10 July 2014.

Private equity interest in the software sector has been on the rise since Advent snapped up Dutch software maker UNIT4 in 2013. Reuters reported on July 11 that Apax, which also circled UNIT4, had approached Exact about a sale.

Helsinki-headquartered Tieto ranks as the largest IT services company in the Nordics, with net sales of around 1.6 billion euros and operations in around 20 countries. Finnish state-owned investment company Solidium Oy owns around 10 percent of the business.

Evry offers products including cloud services and IT consulting. Evry’s top owners, Telenor and Norway Post, hold 70.2 percent of the shares and are backing the review, and the top 10 owners hold a combined 87.7 percent.

The process is being run by Nordic bank ABG Sundal Collier .