Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Two interesting transactions today

Aspect Communications (ASPT) is being bought by Concerto in an all-cash transaction valuing the company at $1 billion.

The offer price of $11.5 is an extremely small premium over the recent close.

I do not currently own any shares, though I did buy and sell Aspect shares for a 292% gain back in 2004 as detailed here. I had bought my shares at around $4 and sold it ~$15, a higher price than the offer today. My purchase then was triggered by insider purchases and I was hoping to see a buyout. But when the stock rose way beyond my expected acquisition price, I sold all my shares.

I was hoping to buy Aspect shares again, but the price/insider-buying indicators never turned positive since I sold my earlier holdings.

This takeover comes just weeks after another major player in the call center support /solutions sector, Nuance, got acquired. I made a small post then.

The remaining players are targets too. These are Witness Systems (WITS), Nice (NICE) and Verint (VRNT). All of them are expensive, though Verint could still get a sizable premium given its use by the US Govt to monitor phone calls.

The other takeover of interest is the just-announced buyout of privately-held Stentor Inc., by Philips. Stentor operates in the medical imaging/archiving sector. This sector, providing specialized IT solutions to medical institutions/professionals, is going to remain a growth area for a long time, given the still-low penetration of IT in day-to-day activities. I drive by Stentor very often and have expected it to be acquired by one of the majors.

Every small player with a good solution in this area will be acquired by GE, Siemens or Philips.


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