US venture capital firm to buy Diligent

  • 15/02/2016

By Fiona Rotherham

New York-based and NZX-listed Diligent Corp is being acquired by venture capital firm Insight Venture Partners in a deal that values the governance software developer at $941 million.

Under the terms of the agreement, Diligent shareholders will receive $7.39 (US$4.90) in cash per share, which is a 31 percent premium to the closing share price on Friday of $5.64, the company said in a statement to the NZX.

The shares have traded as high as $7.18 on Monday morning before settling back to $7.11, a value not reached since June 2013.

"It's good to see some recognition of the underlying quality of Diligent's business," said Shane Solly, portfolio manager at Harbour Asset Management, which owns 10.7 percent of Diligent.

The Diligent board has unanimously approved the transaction and recommends shareholders vote in favour of the agreement

Diligent listed on the New Zealand stock exchange in December 2007 at $1 per share. The company, then known as Diligent Board Member Services, raised $24m in an initial public offering of 23 percent of its shares.

"The US$4.90 per share transaction we are proposing to shareholders represents the culmination of nine years of unrelenting effort by the Diligent team to build a world-class company that is the leader in its space," said chairman David Liptak.

Diligent chief executive Brian Stafford said the company's game plan won't change as a private company -- it wants to be the leading provider of collaboration software for boards, committees and leadership teams.

Mr Stafford and the current senior management team will continue to lead the business after the transaction closes.

The transaction is subject to the approval of a majority of Diligent shareholders and at least 60 percent of those holding preference shares, along with regulatory approval. One of the conditions is that the existing directors will resign once the deal is closed.