LARGO — Monday’s midnight deadline for competing offers for Tech Data came and went with no word of any new bidders, clearing the way for the Largo-based technology distributor to be sold to Apollo Global Management for $6 billion.
In announcing that the deadline had passed, Tech Data didn’t say whether it received any additional offers apart from the one — from no less than famed Omaha billionaire Warren Buffett — that prompted Apollo to raise its offer just before Thanksgiving.
Either way, the effect is the same: The sale to Apollo is expected to close in the first half of next year, subject to regulatory approvals and a vote of Tech Data’s stockholders.
The news was the latest in a high-stakes series of events that became public in mid-October with the first report of Apollo’s $5 billion offer for Tech Data, which is No. 88 on the Fortune 500 list of publicly traded U.S. companies.
Apollo is a private equity firm based in New York with $325 billion in assets. It has invested in a wide range of well-known companies, including Chuck E. Cheese, Norwegian Cruise Lines and ADT home security.
In mid-November, Tech Data announced it had accepted Apollo’s $5.4 billion offer, which was based on offering Tech Data stockholders $130 for each share of Tech Data stock they held.
Apollo proposes to take Tech Data private, meaning its stock would no longer be publicly traded. Tech Data would operate as a standalone subsidiary, keeping its name, its Pinellas County headquarters and its executive team, led by chief executive officer Rich Hume. Hume said he expected the sale to Apollo to position “us for continued growth and success.”
The day before Thanksgiving, Tech Data announced that Apollo had raised its offer to $6 billion, or $145 per share, in response to a rival bid of $140 per share. News reports said the competing bid came from Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway investment company. Outbid, Buffett told CNBC he would not raise his offer.
The door for offers from Buffett and anyone else was open until 11:59 p.m. Monday under what is known as a “go-shop” period where Tech Data could solicit and entertain competing offers from any other party. Now that the go-shop period is over, Tech Data is limited from soliciting any alternate acquisition proposals.
At this point, if Tech Data terminates the agreement, it would owe Apollo $184 million, according to terms of the merger.
If Apollo fails to consummate the deal, then it has agreed to pay Tech Data a termination fee of nearly $316 million.
Edward Raymund founded Tech Data in 1974 to sell computer tapes, disk packs and other supplies for mini and mainframe computers directly to users.
Today the company buys tech products from Apple, Cisco Systems, HP and others, then sells the equipment and provides service to clients in 100 countries. Europe accounts for 51 percent of Tech Data’s sales, with another 46 percent coming from North and South America.
Over the past 45 years, it has grown into a company with 125,000 customers around the world, $32.7 billion in annual revenues and 14,000 employees, 2,000 who work in Pinellas County.
Tech Data stock closed Monday at $143.65 per share, below Apollo’s offer of $145 per share.