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Corel sets date for shareholder vote

Canadian regulators agree to an Aug. 20 shareholders meeting to vote on a takeover bid for the software company.

Software maker Corel announced Friday that it has set a date for shareholders to vote on a takeover plan.

The Ottawa-based company said in a statement that the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has issued an interim order supporting an Aug. 20 special shareholders meeting in Toronto to vote on the proposal by San Francisco venture capital firm Vector Capital. Notice of the meeting and proxy statements for those who wish to vote by mail are being mailed to shareholders, Corel said.

Vector became Corel's biggest shareholder early this year, when it bought up 22.89 million shares from Microsoft. Vector subsequently emerged as the prime candidate to acquire Corel, culminating in a proposal endorsed by Corel's board of directors that would give Corel investors $1.05 per share, a total of $97.6 million.

If the takeover is approved, Vector would run Corel as a privately held company.

While the deal appears likely to win approval from investors, who have watched Corel's stock slide dramatically over the past few years, organized opposition to the plan has emerged. The CorelRescue site claims to represent more than 8.3 million shares that will go against the deal, which the group says dramatically undervalues Corel's key assets. The proposal offers a small premium over Corel's cash value, most recently estimated at $73 million.

Corel has struggled with financial losses and layoffs over the past few years, amid tepid sales for the company's WordPerfect software and an unsuccessful effort to pin the company's fortune's to the Linux operating system.

Corel's current strategy revolves around producing easy-to-use tools for creating content based on XML (Extensible Markup Language), the rapidly spreading standard for delivering Web services and complex business functions.