Exclusive: BroadSoft explores options, including potential sale

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(Reuters) – BroadSoft Inc, a U.S. provider of software that helps companies offer cloud-based communications services, is exploring its options, including the potential sale of the company, according to people familiar with the matter.

The move comes as BroadSoft faces increasing competition from larger technology companies such as Cisco Systems Inc, Ericsson and Nokia Oyj, as well as newer market entrants such as 8×8 Inc.

BroadSoft is working with investment bank Jefferies LLC as it pursues a possible sale to another company or a private equity firm, the sources said this week. There is no certainty of any deal, the persons added.

The sources asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential. BroadSoft and Jefferies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

BroadSoft shares rose 12 percent to $48.15 in afternoon trading in New York on Wednesday, giving the company a market capitalization of $1.5 billion.

Based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, BroadSoft provides software and services that enable mobile, fixed-line and cable service providers to offer unified communications over their internet protocol networks.

BroadSoft has historically sold its products to large telecommunications companies, which then resell the software to their business customers. BroadSoft has recently tried to revamp its business model to sell directly to these customers, a move that risks its relationships with its telecommunications partners, according to a Barclays Plc research report published last month.

BroadSoft competitor Mitel Networks Corp announced a deal to buy rival ShortTel Inc last month for $430 million.

Reuters in February reported that BroadSoft competitor 8×8 Inc had been exploring a sale.

New York-based hedge fund P2 Capital Partners LLC owned a 4.6 percent stake in BroadSoft as of the end of June, according to Thomson Reuters data. P2 has often behaved as an activist shareholder and has even offered to buy companies in which it has invested.

For example, P2 pressured Epiq Systems in 2014 to seek a sale, eventually placing its own $1.1 billion bid for the software company. The bid was rejected, and Epiq was sold two years later to OMERS Private Equity and buyout firm Harvest Partners LP.

Another BroadSoft shareholder with a history of acquisitions is buyout firm KKR Co LP, which is Broadsoft’s 13th-largest shareholder, according to Thomson Reuters data.

For the second quarter ending June 30, Broadsoft’s revenue rose to $88.8 million, up 9 percent from $81.7 million a year earlier. Its net loss was $3 million, compared with a loss of $2.9 million a year earlier.

Reporting by Liana B. Baker in San Francisco and Michael Flaherty in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis

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