Equifax Wins Veda Approval With Sweetened A$2.39 Billion Bid

  • Veda's board unanimously recommends revised proposal
  • Atlanta-based firm granted exclusive access to Veda's accounts

Equifax Inc., a U.S. data management company, made a sweetened A$2.39 billion ($1.7 billion) offer for Australia’s Veda Group Ltd., gaining exclusive access to the target’s accounts.

The Atlanta-based firm offered A$2.825 per share in cash for the Australian credit information provider -- compared with its initial offer of A$2.70 last month -- Veda said in a statement to the stock exchange Tuesday. The Sydney-based company’s board unanimously recommended the offer.

Veda’s shares closed below the bid price Tuesday as the board said there was no certainty the proposal would lead to a binding offer. 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.

The new bid “reflects Veda’s outstanding market position and represents a strong financial outcome for our shareholders,” Chairman Helen Nugent said in the statement.

The target’s stock soared last month after the Sept. 17 proposal, which was 35 percent higher than its previous closing price. The shares rose 1.5 percent to A$2.69 at the close of Sydney trading.

The Australian data and analytics company is now valued at more than double the price of its November 2013 initial public offering.

The deal, which requires Australian government approval, would be Equifax’s biggest-ever acquisition, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Macquarie Group Ltd. and Herbert Smith Freehills are advising Veda.

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