Equifax Offers A$2.28 Billion for Australia's Veda Group

  • Cash proposal would be U.S. company's biggest acquisition
  • `Oral' offer is 35% higher than Veda's last closing price

Equifax Inc., a U.S. data management company, offered A$2.28 billion ($1.64 billion) for Australia’s Veda Group Ltd. in what would be its biggest-ever acquisition.

The Atlanta-based firm made an oral, conditional proposal of A$2.70 per share in cash for the Australian credit information provider, Veda said in a statement to the stock exchange Friday. That’s 35 percent higher than yesterday’s closing price.

Veda stock soared as much as 40 percent after the proposal was disclosed, before trading just shy of the offer price. Equifax, which operates mostly in the Americas and Europe, stands to gain access to the credit information of about 20 million people and 5.7 million companies in Australia and New Zealand, according to information on Veda’s website.

Veda’s board will evaluate the “expression of interest and will update its shareholders and the market in due course.”

Veda traded at A$2.62 at 3:02 p.m. in Sydney. Before today, the shares had fallen 13 percent this year, more than the 4.5 percent decline on the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index.

Equifax said in a separate statement that the planned purchase of Veda is part of a strategy to “expand into attractive new markets.”

Macquarie Group Ltd. and Herbert Smith Freehills are advising Veda, the Sydney-based company said.

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