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ACI Worldwide Jumps After Starboard Value Urges Sale

Activist investor Starboard Value urged the electronic-payments-software provider ACI Worldwide to pursue a sale.
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ACI Worldwide  (ACIW) - Get ACI Worldwide, Inc. Report shares rose Wednesday after activist investor Starboard Value urged the payments-software maker to pursue a sale.

Shares of ACI recently traded at $37.17, up 11%. In 2020 through the close of trading Tuesday, the stock was down 12%.

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

ACI, Naples, Fla., would do better selling itself, as multiple strategic and financial purchasers would be interested in picking it up, he said. “We have reason to believe that some of these potential buyers may have approached ACI to express interest,” Smith said.

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An October SEC filing showed that hedge-fund manager Starboard had raised its stake in ACI to 9%. That gave it 10.5 million shares of the company. 

Starboard said the shares were undervalued and "represented an attractive investment opportunity.” Starboard began building its stake during the first quarter.

In September, Starboard’s special purpose acquisition company, Starboard Value Acquisition SVACU, raised $360 million. SPACs are formed to seek out and merge with operating businesses.

The Starboard SPAC was “incorporated for the purpose of effecting a merger, capital stock exchange, asset acquisition, stock purchase, reorganization or similar business combination with one or more businesses,” Starboard said.

“While the company may pursue an acquisition opportunity in any industry or sector, it intends to focus on industries that align with the background and experience of its sponsor and industry advisors. These industries include the technology, healthcare, consumer, industrials and hospitality & entertainment sectors.”