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Why Premiere Global Services, Inc. Jumped 22% on Friday

By Anders Bylund - Sep 11, 2015 at 11:27AM

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A private equity firm is buying the online communications specialist for $1 billion. Will the bid spark a bidding war, or is this the endgame for Premiere owners?

What: Shares of Premiere Global Services (NYSE: PGI) jumped 22% on Friday morning, lifted by a $1 billion buyout bid from private equity firm Siris Capital Group.

So what: The agreement has already been accepted by the collaboration software maker's board of directors, who recommend that shareholders vote in favor of completing this deal. Siris is offering Premiere shareholders $14 of cash per stub, which works out to a 32% premium over the stock's average price in the last three months.

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

Now what: The buyout bid also represents a multiyear high for Premiere's shares, increasing the chances of shareholder approval. Hoping to ignite a bidding war, Premiere's board made sure to include a 45-day "go-shop" period in the agreement, which gives the company permission to look for higher offers that Siris would then get a chance to match.

The company has shown solid sales and earnings growth over the last five years, but operating margins have compressed dramatically. If the company is fishing for a different buyer, the perfect match would be a telecom or cable operator without an in-house online communications platform. The buyer could be large enough to shrug off Premiere's weak margins and treat the company as a hire-by-acquisition opportunity, or it could be a smaller player with the fiscal discipline to whip Premiere's bottom line into shape.

Whether further bids are on the way or not, the Siris offer lets Premiere's shareholders exit as much as 63% above the stock's 52-week lows. Not a bad endgame, especially if you were worried about Premiere's shrinking margins.

For the rest of us, there's not much wiggle room between today's share prices and Siris' firm offer. Buying Premiere shares today would amount to betting that a bidding war will materialize -- which is far from a guaranteed outcome.

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