Tekelec (Nasdaq: TKLC) is being sold to a private equity firm in a deal valued at some $780 million.

The deal was announced early Monday, and the news set off a buying frenzy of shares.

Private equity firm Siris Capital Group and some additional partners have agreed to pay $11 a share for the Morrisville-based company.

At one point Tekelec shares hit $11.49.

Once the markets opened, Tekelec shares jumped more than 11 percent, or $1.14, to trade at $11.04.

In extremely heavy trading, shares hit $11.10 just before 1 p.m., an increase of more than 12 percent. More than 21 million shares were traded. the average daily trading is just over 1 million.

By the 4 p.m. close shares topped the buyout price, closing at $11.29, up $1.39 or 14 percent on the day.

Nearly 27 million shares traded hands.

Tekelec focuses on gear and software related to mobile communications.

The purchase price reflects an 11 percent premium over Tekelec’s closing share price of $9.90 on Friday.

Tekelec’s board already has approved the deal.

In a filing with the SEC, Tekelec said it plans to remain based in Morrisville. (Read more details here.)

The company employs some 600 people at its Morrisville headquarters and around 1,100 worldwide.

Over the past 12 months, Tekelec has endured turbulent times. As sales and revenues fell, its stock plummeted from a 52-week high of $13.98 to a low last month of $5.64. (Read more details here.)

Quarterly profit

Just after the sale was announced, Tekelec said its revenues declined 2 percent in the most recent quarter from a year ago to $108.3 million. Orders, meanwhile, declined 16 percent.

Tekelec also reported sales of $20 million – the biggest in the company’s history – and $13 million to telecom clients in the past two weeks.

After one-time expenses and other items, Tekelec reported a profit of $13.1 million or 19 cents per share. A year ago, earnings were $10.2 million or 15 cents. (Read the earnings report here.)

Management team expected to stay

Since January of this year, the company lost one CEO (Frank Plastina) and also cut its work force by 15 percent. Only in the last two weeks did Tekelec shares rally after the company announced a big $20 million sale.

In May, Tekelec announced the layoffs. At that time, Tekelec had 675 employees in the Triangle and 1,250 worldwide.

Tekelec is a world leader in software and gear to handle such information as texting and numbering for telecommunications customers.

In the announcement about the sale, Tekelec said its management team is expected to stay in place.

The buyers include Siris, The ComVest Group, GSO Capital Partners, Sankaty Advisors, ZelnickMedia and others.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of next year.

New executive chairman

“Our customers can expect the same level of innovation and quality from our market leading products and our global team,” said Ron de Lange, Tekelec’s chief executive officer, in a statement. “In addition, the acquisition will provide us even greater flexibility to deliver best-in-class solutions for the mobile data and video market, with an unwavering focus on our global installed base of over 300 customers.”

As part of the deal, Tekelec will get a new executive board chairman. Merle Gilmore, a former president of Motorola Communications Enteprise and chairman of Airvana Network Solutions, will assume that post once the deal has closed. Tekelec said in the announcement.

“Tekelec presents a unique opportunity to acquire market leading products in the Signaling, Policy, and Diameter Routing markets, a global customer base that includes 16 of the top 20 wireless service providers, and a highly skilled employee workforce,” Gilmore said in a statement.

“We will continue investing in and building on Tekelec’s reputation for innovation, scalability and reliability to extend the Company’s mobile data products to new markets and applications,” he added.

Read the full deal announcement here.

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