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IBA boomerangs back into iSoft bidding war

Germans gazumped

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The battle for crocked NHS software outfit iSoft has flared up again with the news that Aussie group IBA has moved to gazump the bid from German firm CompuGroup Holding that was accepted in July.

IBA has also swooped to accumulate 24 per cent of iSoft shares in the market as a spoiler. Its new bid to acquire the target outright values iSoft at £0.69 per share, or about £166.3m total. In May IBA pitched £0.52 per share in an all-stock deal which was accepted but then bested by CompuGroup's £0.66 per share raid.

CompuGroup was able to cut in when IBA's original bid was stalled by objections from CSC, which iSoft has obligations to under its NHS contracts. CSC ruled itself out of the takeover running last Friday.

As part of its bid, CompuGroup has agreed to flog Lorenzo, iSoft's key contribution to the multibillion-pound National Programme for IT, to CSC.

IBA boss Gary Cohen told the Financial Times today that a break-up would be bad value for iSoft shareholders.

iSoft's board will now consider IBA's new offer, which has been bankrolled by a £120m cash injection from Allco Equity Partners, an Aussie investment fund. CSC's influence could still be crucial. ®

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