Equifax Inc. and Veda Group Limited, the largest provider of consumer and commercial credit reporting in Australia and New Zealand, reached an agreement for Equifax to acquire all outstanding shares of the common stock of Veda for $2.5 billion.
The price is higher than Veda has traded since the agency listed in December 2013. Veda's board of directors approved the deal and shareholders will vote at a meeting expected to be held in February.
"Veda is a well-established business with strong leadership, innovative products and services, and deep customer relationships," said Richard F. Smith, Equifax chairman and CEO. "This acquisition will provide a strong platform for Equifax to offer new data and analytics services in Australia and other markets in this region, using our technology and expertise developed over many years in the U.S. and the 18 other geographies in which we operate."
The Veda shares will be purchased for cash using proceeds available from senior credit facilities provided by a bank syndicate. Veda also operates through joint ventures in several other Asia-Pacific markets. Should the Agreement proceed to completion, the proposed transaction will be EPS accretive for Equifax.
The implementation of this binding agreement is subject to customary closing conditions, as well as shareholder and regulatory approvals in Australia. The acquisition is anticipated to close by the end of the first quarter of 2016.
Helen Nugent, Veda’s chairman, said the sale is an attractive outcome for shareholders."We consider that the offer price .. reflects Veda’s strong market position and its ability to deliver growth into the future,” she said. "Equifax has a global capability and deep skills that will benefit Veda’s customers and provide opportunities for our staff."
Equifax has data on more than 600 million consumers and 81 million businesses worldwide.