By Greg Roumeliotis
(Reuters) - Private equity firm Thoma Bravo LLC is preparing to submit a binding bid for Qlik Technologies Inc as early as Tuesday that will value the U.S. data analytics firm at as much as $2.8 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.
Thoma Bravo is planning to offer between $28 and $30 per share in cash for Qlik, two of the people said. Qlik shares traded at around $32 before news of the bid. They ended trading on Tuesday down 10 percent at $28.70.
The buyout firm sees little competition for the company, the people added.
Other private equity firms decided against making binding offers for Qlik because of the company's high valuation expectations, the people said. However, it is possible that a party other than Thoma Bravo could make an offer, one of the people added.
The sources asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential. Qlik and Thoma Bravo declined to comment.
Qlik shares rose 20 percent in the two months after Reuters reported on March 25 that Qlik, under pressure from activist hedge fund Elliott Management Corp, was working with investment bank Morgan Stanley to explore a potential sale.
Based in Radnor, Pennsylvania, Qlik focuses on creating applications that help businesses analyze and visualize data to save money. It competes with an SAP SE product called Business Objects, as well as Cognos, IBM Corp's business intelligence software.
If Qlik is sold off, it would be the latest in a long list of enterprise technology companies that have been taken over in recent years after Elliott targeted them. Elliott has pushed for the sale of several companies that have ended up being acquired by private equity firms, such as Compuware Corp, Riverbed Technology Inc, Blue Coat Systems and Informatica.
In the latest sign that a bout of volatility that rocked the financing market for leveraged buyouts has subsided, private equity firm Vista Equity Partners announced earlier on Tuesday it would acquire Marketo Inc, a maker of cloud-based marketing software, for $1.79 billion.
(Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; additional reporting by Liana B. Baker in San Francisco; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Tom Brown)