Easy Software poised to reject takeover deal after CEO's sudden departure

German ECM vendor Easy Software has recommended its shareholders spurn a proposed takeover bid, with its ex-CEO and chairman facing separate investigations

German enterprise content management software Easy Software has over 11,000 customers, subsidiaries in the UK, USA, Singapore and Austria and 2011 revenues of €27m. It's also facing takeover bid in unusual circumstances.

Last week the management and supervisory boards of Easy Software unanimously decided to refuse a bid to acquire the company made by German software and services company Allgeier.

Allgeier made an offer to buy 75 percent of the shares of Easy on 24 July at a price of €4 per share, a premium of 17 percent on the listed share price at the time. Easy's stock price has hovered at just over the €4 mark since the offer was made.

Easy's board have now recommended shareholders not accept the offer, saying the proposed price is not high enough. The stage now seems to be set for a full scale takeover battle.

Ulrich Kampffmeyer, president of the German analyst and consulting company Project Consult, said: "The future of Easy is now very unclear… This was regarded as the only possible way for Easy to get out of its turbulence."

Easy first hit the turbulence in question earlier this year after then chief exec Gereon Neuhaus was removed from his position as CEO on 27 June.

Easy announced his departure as the city of Essen began investigating Neuhaus on suspicion of embezzlement.

"The public prosecutor's office of Essen (Germany) initiated investigations against Mr Gereon Neuhaus in conjunction with his activities as CEO of Easy Software AG. The company's premises were searched, among others, as part of these investigations," a statement on Easy's site said.

In an unrelated case, Easy's chairman of the board Manfred Artur Wagner is also involved in legal proceedings in connection with a separate company, packaging business Deufol. In April, Deufol made a criminal complaint against Wagner - formerly its chairman of the board - and four others, saying it suspected they "engaged in actions detrimental to the Deufol Group during the course of business from 2006 through 2011". It is also seeking damages totalling €26.4m from 11 individuals, including Wagner, through the civil courts.

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