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ACI Worldwide Rises on Report of Strategic-Options Review

ACI Worldwide has reportedly tapped Goldman Sachs as it considers strategic alternatives, including a potential sale, according to media reports.

Shares of ACI Worldwide  (ACIW) - Get ACI Worldwide, Inc. Report  rose Thursday as the payments-software provider reportedly mulled strategic alternatives, including a potential sale.

Shares of the Naples, Fla., company at last check rose 4.3% to $40.31. The stock on Thursday touched a 52-week high near $41. That's twice its 52-week low, set in mid-March.

A month after the activist investor Starboard Value urged ACI Worldwide to pursue a sale, the company is said to have tapped investment-banking firm Goldman Sachs to weigh its options, Barron's reported.

Goldman is expected to begin contacting potential bidders very soon, people familiar with the developments told the paper.

In a letter to ACI dated Dec. 2, Starboard Managing Member Jeff Smith had said that the company’s revenue and margin targets are so tame that it “seems almost impossible for management to miss.”

The company would do better selling itself, as multiple strategic and financial purchasers would be interested in picking it up, he said in December last year. 

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“We have reason to believe that some of these potential buyers may have approached ACI to express interest,” Smith said.

A regulatory filing from October showed that hedge-fund manager Starboard had raised its stake in ACI to 9%, or 10.5 million shares. 

Starboard had said the shares were undervalued and "represented an attractive investment opportunity.”

ACI Worldwide, founded in 1975, has grown through a series of acquisitions. With a market value of $3.9 billion, though, it’s dwarfed by larger rivals such as Fiserv, Bloomberg reported.

Starboard is known for buying stakes in companies and pushing management and boards for changes.

The New York investment firm is now challenging Corteva  (CTVA) - Get Corteva Inc Report for control of the Wilmington, Del., seed and pesticides company's board, citing "a litany of missed promises and unforced errors."