Quest says unnamed firm offers to buy it for $2.3B

System management software vendor won't identify bidder; speculation points to Dell

System management software vendor Quest said Monday that an unnamed "strategic bidder" had submitted an acquisition offer of $27.50 per share, or approximately $2.3 billion.

Earlier this year, Quest announced that it was going private via a $23 per share buyback with equity firm Insight Venture Partners, but said that it would entertain better offers.

On June 14, Quest said it had received a $25.50 per share offer from a strategic bidder, and shortly thereafter Insight Venture raised its offer to $25.75 per share, with Vector Capital joining the deal.

As for the offer announced Monday, "the definitive terms and conditions of a merger agreement detailing the proposal have been fully negotiated, and the agreement is subject only to execution by the Company," Quest said in a statement.

There are a number of possibilities as to the identity of the bidder, but Dell, which recently launched a new software division, has been the subject of the most persistent speculation.

It wasn't immediately clear whether other suitors, which could include systems management vendors such as BMC and Hewlett-Packard, would submit counterbids.

Quest is known for its Toad database management software, and also offers Windows Server and data protection tools.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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