Silver Lake clinches Serena Software deal

Silver Lake Partners agreed to take Serena Software private for roughly $1.2 billion, in what has been a busy week for public-to-private transactions.

In yet another public-to-private deal, Silver Lake Partners has agreed to acquire San Mateo, California-based Serena Software, paying $24 a share for the change governance software provider. The acquisition, expected to close in the first quarter of next year, gives the company an enterprise value of roughly $1.2 billion (€1.03 billion).

The transaction comes amid what has been a busy week for public-to-private transactions. La Quinta, Linens ‘n Things, Geac Computer and FrontRange Solutions all agreed to taking-private deals this week, while Homestore.com was the recipient of a $100 million PIPE.

In the Silver Lake deal, the Menlo Park-based firm will finance the transaction with debt to be provided by Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers and UBS. Silver Lake is currently investing out of its second fund, Silver Lake Partners II, a $3.6 billion vehicle raised last year.

According to the terms of the transaction, Serena founder and current chairman Douglas Troxel has agreed to exchange a third of his current stake in the business, and he will rollover the balance of his holdings into the new company. Existing Serena management, led by chief executive Mark Woodward, will also rollover their equity interests into the privately held business.

Serena is a provider of enterprise change management software. The company, which maintains offices in the US and Europe, distributes its products to businesses to help manage and control application change in their IT systems.

In addition to the surge in public to privates, the transaction also represents yet another technology deal to be clinched recently. Nearly all the US technology specialists have been active this week, with Garnett & Helfrich buying the open source unit of Computer Associates, Golden Gate Capital taking Geac Computer private and Francisco Partners inking a deal to buy FrontRange Solutions.

Silver Lake has also been active recently. Last week it agreed to sell the storage semiconductor unit of Agilent to PMC Sierra in a $425 million deal. Silver Lake agreed to acquire Agilent in a $2.66 billion deal, which still has not closed, partnering with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. The firm has also been credited with spearheading the $11.3 billion SunGard acquisition, a deal that was completed this past August.

Morgan Stanley served as financial advisor to Serena on the transaction, while Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher served as legal advisor to the board and company management, respectively. Merrill Lynch and Lehman advised Silver Lake on the transaction, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett provided legal advice.