(Reuters) - Credit reporting firm TransUnion Corp PONTS.UL agreed to be acquired by buyout firm Advent International and a Goldman Sachs (GS.N) unit in a deal valued at $3 billion.
TransUnion had said in July it planned to raise up to $325 million in an initial public offering, but also launched a sale process as the IPO market was effectively shut due to geopolitical and economic uncertainty.
Private-equity firms Carlyle Group, Bain Capital and Advent were in the race to buy the firm in a deal that could fetch more than $2 billion, sources told Reuters last October.
Ultimately, strong debt and leveraged finance markets made a sale the preferred choice for the company, as the market for public stock offerings remained less certain, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday. The availability of financing and positive economic data lately could lead to a resurgence in mergers and acquisition activity generally, the sources said.
Current stakeholders in TransUnion include private-equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners and the Pritzker family business interests.
“We intend to... grow TransUnion by ensuring that the company continues to deliver superior information and risk management tools both in the U.S. and in key growth markets like Latin America,” said Chris Egan, a managing director at Advent.
TransUnion could grow internationally through acquisitions, partnerships and joint ventures, the sources said.
The deal follows a new proposal by the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to regulate about 200 debt collectors and companies that produce credit reports in an effort by the agency to extend its reach beyond the banking industry.
Companies like TransUnion release credit reports which quantify a consumer’s creditworthiness and are used by banks and other lenders to determine whether to provide a loan or what interest rate should be charged.
TransUnion’s buyers believe the proposal won’t be a burden for the company because it would only change the overseer of the industry, not impose a new layer of rules, the sources said.
The deal is expected to close late first quarter or the second quarter of this year, and Chief Executive Bobby Mehta will remain with the company, TransUnion said in a statement.
TransUnion posted net income attributable to the company of $40.8 million in 2011, up from $36.6 million in 2010, according to its annual report filed with securities regulators on Friday. Revenue increased to about $1 billion from $956 million.
TransUnion was advised by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank, while the company and its current stockholders received legal counsel from Latham & Watkins. The buyers were advised by Evercore Partners and Goldman Sachs; Deutsche Bank and Goldman provided bank and bridge financing commitments. Davis Polk & Wardwell, Weil Gotshal & Manges and Simpson Thacher & Bartlet provided their legal counsel.
Reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bangalore and Rick Rothacker in Charlotte, N.C.; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila, Gopakumar Warrier and Tim Dobbyn