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Activist Pressure Nets Thoma Bravo $3B Analytics Firm Buy

Private equity firm Thoma Bravo will buy Qlik in a cash deal that values the company at about $3 billion, the analytics visualization firm said Thursday following months of prodding by an activist investor.

The deal confirms reports from earlier this year that billionaire Paul Singer’s hedge fund Elliott Management Corp., which disclosed a 10.8 percent stake in the firm in March, was pushing Qlik to sell.

Thoma Bravo will pay Qlik stockholders $30.50 per share, a modest bump from its $28.97 closing price on Wednesday but a 40 percent increase over Qlik’s unaffected average price of $21.83 over the 10 days before Elliott disclosed an 8.8 percent stake in March, Qlik said. Elliott upped that stake two points three weeks later, according to a regulatory filing.

“We believe the proposed transaction is in the best interest of Qlik’s shareholders and provides the company with additional flexibility to execute our strategic plan as we continue to diligently provide customers with the premier products and services they have come to expect,” Qlick CEO Lars Björk said in a statement. “Thoma Bravo recognizes the value that Qlik delivers — a platform that lets our customers see the whole story that lives within their data.”

Qlik, founded in 1993, offers visualization software that allows its about 39,000 customers to more easily analyze their data. Products include its QlikView guided analytics tool and its QlikSense self-service visualization app.

The company will keep its Radnor, Pennsylvania headquarters following the deal’s close, which Qlik expects to come in the third quarter, pending approval by regulators and Qlik shareholders.

“We look forward to partnering with the Qlik team as they continue to grow their platform-based approach to business intelligence and analytics,” Thoma Bravo managing partner Orlando Bravo said.

“We are excited by Qlik’s product roadmap and confident that we can apply our experiences working with market-leading software companies to accelerate Qlik’s growth and market share across all geographies,” fellow managing partner Seth Boro added.

Qlik has posted net losses in each of the last three years even as its revenues grew, largely due to marketing expenses. The company spent nearly $350 million in marketing last year and another $275 million in development and administrative expenses and revenue-related costs, posting a $36.5 million loss on about $612 million in revenue.

Elliott was little dissuaded by these negative results, purchasing 8.2 million shares in the company over dozens of transactions ranging in price from about $17 per share to more than $28 per share over January and February, according to its March 3 filing. The company told the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission it had upped its stake on May 28.

Thoma Bravo has been providing strategic and equity support to growing companies, particularly in software and technology-enabled services, for more than 30 years, according to its website. The company has made more than $16 billion in equity commitments through several funds.

Qlik is being advised by Morgan Stanley & Co., a Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP team that includes Graham Robinson, Laura Knoll, Richard Grossman, Rogan Nunn, Chade Severin, Alex Antonova, Edward Micheletti, Steven Messina, Danielle Li, Moshe Spinowitz, Bruce Goldner, Timothy F. Nelson, Clifford Aronson, Frederic Depoortere, Matthew Hendrickson, Stephane Dionnet and Risa Salins and a Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigan LLP team including Jay K. Hachigan, Richard R. Hesp, Keith J. Scherer, Emma Eriksson Broomhead, Laura Stoffel, Andrew Weymouth, George Pothoulakis, Jim L. Hauser and Timothy H. Ehrlich.

Thoma Bravo is being advised by Goldman, Sachs & Co. and a Kirkland & Ellis LLP that included Gerald Nowak, Corey Fox, Bradley Reed, John Berger, Peter Stach, Dan Hoppe and Michael Cannell.