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Thoma Bravo and KKR in the running to buy BMC Software from Bain and Golden Gate Capital

BMC Software, the systems management software specialist taken private in 2013, is up for sale, with private equity firms Thoma Bravo and KKR the leading contenders to buy the company from Bain and Golden Gate Capital.

The company has appointed Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse to drum up interest, according to Bloomberg, with Thoma Bravo – which owns a long portfolio of technology companies – among the front-runners expressing an interest.

However, Bain Capital and Golden Gate Capital will be looking for a premium on the $6.9 billion that they paid to take BMC private back in 2013, and may also be looking only to sell a sizeable stake rather than the entire firm.

Should Bain and Golden Gate Capital offload BMC Software, they could well reignite their interest in CA – formerly Computer Associates – which the two private equity firms considered buying last year in a deal that would have valued CA at $15 billion.

That plan, though, would have involved merging BMC and CA to create an enlarged software group.

While Thoma Bravo, a private equity firm that specialises in technology investment is reportedly interested, it typically acquires companies in need of restructuring, like Compuware, and is not averse to either merging companies in its portfolio or demerging – such as the separation of Dynatrace from Compuware.

KKR, meanwhile, is a publicly listed investment firm best known for leveraged buy-outs during the 1980s, culminating in the buy-out of US food company RJR Nabisco in 1989 – at the height of the boom.

It was involved in the buy-out of Boots the Chemist in the UK and, in the technology sector, payment processor First Data and NXP Semiconductors when it was floated out of Dutch electronics firm Philips.

More recently, KKR bought from Exponent for an undisclosed sum, WebMD Health for $2.8 billion, and Epicor Software.

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