Exclusive-Software company BigCommerce explores sale, sources say

By Milana Vinn

(Reuters) -BigCommerce, the e-commerce software maker that used to be backed by SoftBank Group, is exploring a sale after attracting takeover interest, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

BigCommerce has become an acquisition target after losing 90% of its market value in the four years since its initial public offering. It has struggled to compete against larger rival Shopify.

The Austin, Texas-based company has asked investment bank Qatalyst Partners to solicit interest from potential buyers that include private equity firms, the sources said.

The discussions are at an early stage and no deal is certain, the sources added, requesting anonymity because the matter is confidential.

Spokespeople for BigCommerce and Qatalyst did not respond to requests for comment.

BigCommerce's shares ended trading on Tuesday up 11% at $6.94 on the news, giving the company a market value of more than $500 million. The company also had long-term debt as of the end of December of $339 million.

BigCommerce provides software and an e-commerce platform to retailers, allowing them to build online store fronts. It also provides tools for search engine optimization, marketing and security for small and medium-sized businesses.

The company almost doubled its sales between 2020 and 2022, as small businesses and large brick-and-mortar chains scrambled to meet demand for online orders during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, its growth has slowed down significantly as worldwide lockdowns have been lifted and e-commerce growth has tapered.

It has fallen behind Shopify, which has been posting double-digit-percentage sales growth, and has seen more retailers, such as Walmart, Target and Macy's, offering their own online marketplaces to small businesses.

Earlier this year, SoftBank sold its entire stake in BigCommerce, having first invested in the company in 2014.

BigCommerce said this week it has tapped e-commerce industry veteran Travis Hess as its president to drive expansion efforts globally.

(Reporting by Milana Vinn in New YorkAdditional reporting by Siddharth Cavale in New YorkEditing by Greg Roumeliotis)