Quest Software receives new $2.32 billion offer from mystery bidder

US-based enterprise systems management software maker Quest Software Inc, which had agreed to be acquired by private equity firm Insight Venture Partners for about $2 billion in cash, today said that it has received a higher offer of $2.32 billion in cash, the third buyout offer it received this year.

Quest's shares were at $27.65 in pre-market trade today, above the new offer from an unnamed ''strategic bidder'' of $27.50.

In March, New York-based Insight, which raised over $5 billion to invest in the software and internet verticals, had agreed to buy Quest Software for $23 a share. (See: Insight Venture to acquire Quest Software for $2 bn) Insight had last week sweetened its offer to $25.75 per share in cash, topping a $25.50 per share bid from a strategic bidder that several media reports identified as Dell Inc.

In May, Bloomberg had reported that Dell, the world's third-largest PC maker, is in talks with Quest. (See: Dell in talks to buy network security firm Quest Software: report)

The company said its board of directors has determined the new $27.50 offer is superior to prior offers.

The terms of the present offer are similar to the original proposal from the strategic bidder, including no financing conditions and paying the bidder a break-up fee of 3.5 per cent.

Although Quest did reveal whether the new offer is from Dell, several media reports suggested that Quest's CEO, Vincent Smith, who controls 34 per cent of the company's stock, prefers to sell the company to Insight because it would allow him to continue running the company.