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HelpSystems up for sale for more than $700 million : sources

By Greg Roumeliotis

(Reuters) - HelpSystems LLC is exploring a sale that could value the information technology management software company at more than $700 million, including debt, just two years after it changed private equity ownership, according to people familiar with the matter.

Private equity firm Summit Partners, which bought HelpSystems in 2012 from another buyout firm, Audax Group Inc, has hired boutique investment bank Harris Williams & Co to run a sale process, the people said this week.

HelpSystems LLC has annual earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, of around $60 million, the people added, asking not to be identified because the auction is confidential.

Summit Partners and Harris Williams declined to comment, while a HelpSystems representative did not respond to a request for comment.

Based in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, HelpSystems provides data center software for various operating systems, including Unix, Linux and Microsoft Corp's Windows.

Founded in 1982, the company says on its website that it has more than 8,700 corporate clients. Its brands include Robot and SEQUEL Software.

Business software deals have become increasingly popular among private equity firms as they seek to capitalize on companies turning to software to cut their costs and increase efficiencies. But the high price expectations of sellers can often present significant obstacles.

In April, for example, Blackstone Group LP bought a minority stake in buyout firm Hellman & Friedman LLC's human resources software firm Kronos Inc, investing $750 million alongside Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC. This followed an auction for the whole company that failed to satisfy Hellman & Friedman's valuation expectations.

Earlier this month, CVC Capital Partners Ltd ended talks to acquire enterprise resource planning firm Epicor Software Corp from Apax Partners LLP after the two sides failed to agree on a price, according to people familiar with the matter.

(Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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