Going private is a bold step for a public company," says Richard C. Cook, CEO of MAPICS Inc., a publicly traded Alpharetta, Ga., producer of manufacturing software. For a public company like MAPICS, which has an independent board, going private probably would mean a management buyout and that would mean pitting management against the board, he believes. "If I were ever to think of going private, I would be going out and getting some large venture fund or someone like that to take our shares out of the market and would be making an offer for the company. And the board would have to decide whether that offer was fair or not -- or whether they should seek other offers to counter that," says Cook. "Going-private transactions are not elegant because of this pitting the board against management, and, therefore, people have to think very long and hard before [doing] one of those."