Capita is leading the race to acquire education specialist Ramesys as it is more able to swallow Building Schools for the Future (BSF) liabilities that may arise downstream, allowing current parent Lloyds Development Capital (LDC) to make a clean break.
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As revealed last week, venture capitalist LDC is no longer willing to continue investing in loss-making Ramesys, which uses the funds to bid for BSF contracts.
Outsourcing giant Capita is understood to have tabled a bid of circa £20m for the Microsoft education LAR, but the other party involved in the negotiations is Agilisys.
"Capita is more likely of the two to complete the acquisition because LDC wants to sell to someone that is able to absorb liabilities including warranties," an insider told MicroScope.
BSF contracts are complicated affairs but LDC, which will already "take a bath" on its £40m plus investment in Ramesys, does not want any "embarrassing liabilities" that may force it to shell out more money if contracts are changed.
With a general election on the horizon, the Conservatives are understood to favour the Academies programme over BSF and there is a risk it could lower the financial expectations of the existing contracts.
In December Capita forked out £75m for network infrastructure provider Synetrix, which is also involved in BSF, so the acquisition of desktop and software player Ramesys would be an interesting fit.
Capita and Ramesys refused to comment.