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21 Aug 2008

Software Stake Bought by Hedge Fund Firm

Hedge fund firm Elliott Associates has taken a 9.9% stake in Epicor Software Corp. and is inquiring about possible strategic alternatives for the company.

According to a filing made with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Elliott now owns nearly 6 million shares of Epicor, just shy of 10% of the company. The firm has been steadily buying up shares since June but made particularly large acquisitions during the last month. It has also acquired more than $18 million worth of convertible bonds for Epicor over the past week.

Elliott also said it has made inquiries as to whether Epicor has considered exploring strategic alternatives. Such language is often a harbinger for an investor pushing for the sale of a company. Elliott earlier this year put pressure on MSC Software to put itself up for sale.

New York-based Elliott is known for its activism. In the recent past, it has launched a hostile takeover bid for IT company Packateer, pressed retailer Pier 1 to cut costs and helped Metrologic Instruments founder C. Harry Knowles take his company private. Metrologic has since been taken over by manufacturing giant Honeywell.

Hedge fund firm Breeden Capital Management also disclosed a 5.25% stake in medical equipment maker Hill-Rom. Former Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Richard Breeden founded Breeden Capital, which uses an activist strategy to profit from companies that improve corporate governance. The firm's top holdings include H&R Block, medical equipment sterilization company Steris and diamond retailer Zales.

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