Proxicom gets acquisition offer, Compaq deal on for now

Just when you think you've got a deal wrapped up. Compaq Computer Corp. announced in late April that it was buying consulting and services firm Proxicom Inc. for US$266 million, but on Monday Proxicom said it had gotten another takeover offer [see "Compaq buys Proxicom for US$266 million," April 26].

The offer, from Dimension Data Holdings PLC, a U.K.-based firm, is for $7.50 per share, topping Compaq's $5.75 per share offer, Proxicom said. Proxicom notified Compaq of the competing offer on May 6, the company said. Proxicom's board has authorized the company to begin negotiations with Dimension Data Holdings, but has not changed its recommendation to shareholders in favor of the Compaq merger, Compaq said in a statement.

Though Proxicom's board continues to recommend the Compaq merger, Proxicom could still leave Compaq at the altar and run off with Dimension Data Holdings. The Compaq-Proxicom deal affords Proxicom the option of pursuing other merger offers, if better ones are presented, and allows the company to back out of the Compaq deal, albeit with a $10 million cancellation fee, Proxicom said. If Proxicom does decide to merge with Dimension Data Holdings, or any other company offering a better per share price than Compaq, Compaq will have three days to decide whether or not to match the competing offer, Proxicom said.

Compaq made the bid to acquire Proxicom in an effort to expand its global services portfolio.

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