NEW YORK/BOSTON, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Hedge fund Elliott Management Corp.’s software company ASG Technologies said on Wednesday it was offering to buy Mitek Systems Inc for $10 a share after the provider of financial technology to banks rejected an earlier takeover approach.
ASG said in a letter to Mitek that it is reaffirming its “proposal to acquire Mitek for $10.00 per share in cash, a 51 percent premium above the unaffected price on October 9, 2018”, valuing the company at $425 million including debt.
Mitek’s stock price jumped 17.2 percent to trade at $9.41 shortly after the opening on Wednesday.
A takeover would benefit shareholders, including some large investors who are backing a potential sale, employees and customers, ASG said in its letter. “We strongly believe that the best future for Mitek’s products is as a part of a broader platform at ASG where we can invest behind extending the Company’s identity verification solutions via further automation,” the letter said.
ASG’s plan would eliminate some risks for investors, employees and customers, the letter said, noting that a deal with ASG would be “be superior to the uncertainty and risks inherent in replacing the top two executives at the company and attempting to regain the confidence of investors through a turnaround of operational performance.”
Mitek said in August that Chief Executive Officer Jim DeBello and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Davison were stepping down to either retire or pursue other roles.
Mitek’s shareholders faced the “strong possibility of permanent impairment” to the value of their shares if the company chose to stay public, the letter said.
Mitek could not immediately be reached for comment.
Mitek, which is based in San Diego and has agreements with large banks such as JPMorgan Chase & Co to handle mobile check deposits, rebuffed an offer from Naples, Florida-based ASG, last month, Reuters reported.
On Wednesday, ASG said that Elliott, which invests $35 billion, has “adequate capital to consummate the acquisition.” The hedge fund, which was founded four decades ago by Paul Singer, already made a significant investment in Mitek’s stock and is now one of the company’s biggest investors, the letter said.
ASG received an investment last year from Evergreen Coast Capital, the private equity arm of activist hedge fund Elliott Management.
Elliott has been using its private equity arm, Evergreen, to acquire both public and private companies and sometimes involves ASG when it pushes companies to explore a sale. (Reporting by Liana B. Baker in New York and Svea Herbst-Bayliss in Boston Editing by Frances Kerry)