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HR Software Maker Kronos In $1.8 Billion Buyout

Kronos, a Nasdaq-traded maker of human-resource management software, joins a number of other tech companies that in recent months have been the target of private equity funds.
Private equity's love affair with the tech industry continued apace Friday as Kronos Software announced that it has agreed to be acquired by Hellman & Friedman Capital Partners under a deal worth $1.8 billion. Kronos chairman Mark Ain said in a statement the move is "the culmination of a thorough review of our standalone plan and strategic alternatives."

In choosing to exit the public markets, Kronos -- a Nasdaq-traded maker of human-resource management software -- joins a number of other tech companies that in recent months have been the target of private equity funds.

Earlier this week, Affiliated Computer Services chairman Darwin Deason said he reached agreement with Cerberus Capital Management to jointly take the outsourcing company private for $59.25 per share. In January, a group of investors led by Oak Hill Capital Partners acquired U.K. business process outsourcer Vertex Data Science for about $430 million.

The value of all private equity deals in 2006 was $370 billion -- about twice the total racked up in 2005, according to Thomson Financial. Observers suggest that easier access to capital and companies' desire to avoid the regulatory spotlight of public markets are driving the move toward going private.

Under the terms of the buyout agreement, Kronos shareholders will receive $55 per share. Kronos shares were up 13.5% to $52.95 in early trading Friday.

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