Key system software maker is the subject of a bidding war between Gores and Marlin Equity Partners.
Phoenix Technologies, the company that provides key system software for PCs, is evaluating takeover offers from two private equity funds.
In the latest offer, announced after the stock markets closed Friday, Gores Group bid $152 million in cash for Phoenix, beating an offer by Marlin Equity Partners, which had tendered $146 million. Marlin began the bidding in August.
In its latest offer, Gores Group noted that Marlin's merger agreement proposal had been accepted by Phoenix's board of directors. According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing by Phoenix, the firm's board is examining the latest bid from the Gorges Group.
A wide range of core system software for PCs and other devices is included in firmware developed by Phoenix. The BIOS products are used to coordinate the management of various hardware components and software in devices. In September, Phoenix announced a unified extensible firmware interface (UEFI) plug-in for the Intel 5-series-M chipset customer reference board. The technology will help original equipment manufacturers and others in developing products and services for mobile networks.
Based in Milpitas, Calif., Phoenix played an important role in the establishment of the PC clone industry through its original BIOS product in 1983. The company has more than 200 technology patents issued and pending. Its firmware has been shipped in over one billion systems, according to Phoenix.
In recent years, Phoenix has developed a Linux-based boot environment called HyperSpace that promises to assist quick boots of PCs and other devices. Gores Group has made several investments in Enterasys Networks and other high tech firms. Marlin Equity Partners has invested in several high-tech companies, including several software companies.
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