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SunGard in talks over possible $10b sale

WAYNE, Pa. -- SunGard Data Systems Inc., a maker of investment support systems for banks, stock exchanges, and mutual funds, said yesterday it is in talks over a possible sale of the entire company. Its shares surged more than 24 percent.

SunGard's board has authorized its advisers and management to engage in the discussions, while at the same time proceeding with the planned spin-off of the company's disaster-recovery business, which was disclosed last fall.

Earlier yesterday, the New York Post reported that a consortium led by San Francisco-based Silver Lake Partners was negotiating to purchase Wayne, Pa.-based Sun- Gard for up to $10 billion.

The Post said the investor group includes Texas Pacific Group and Thomas H. Lee Partners, and may also include private equity firms Blackstone Group, Citicorp Venture Capital, and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.

SunGard did not identify who it was talking with in yesterday's statement. It said it doesn't plan to comment on any specific discussions or any potential transaction unless and until it enters into a de- finitive agreement.

SunGard shares surged $6.12, or 24.5 percent, to close at $31.07 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company's Availability Services unit, with revenue of $1.2 billion and operating income of $340 million in 2003, accounted for about 40 percent of its business that year, SunGard said in an October statement on the split.

The unit ensures that corporations' data and records are accessible in the event of natural disaster or terrorism.

SunGard's remaining unit develops systems and services for a variety of tasks, such as clearing stock trades for Wall Street brokerages and managing student records at universities.

The software unit accounted for about 60 percent of the company's total revenue, or $1.8 billion in 2003, and posted operating income of $324 million that year. It employed about 10,000 people as of October.

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