PEP leads consortium to buy Veda

Merrill Lynch has joined forces with Pacific Equity Partners to make its first foray into the Australasian private equity market, with a $659 million offer for credit checking company Veda Advantage.

A consortium comprising Australasia’s largest private equity firm, Pacific Equity Partners, and US investor Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity has made an A$814 million ($659 million) offer for credit checking company Veda Advantage.

The offer of A$3.61 per share was a 10 per cent premium on Veda’s trading price at the close of trading on Friday night, but the shares rose to A$3.51 at 4.10pm Australian time following news of the deal.

The company, which has current debts of A$149 million, provides credit checks for banks, mobile phone operators and credit-card firms. 

An independent advisor has been brought in to ratify the price, but Veda chairman Glenn Barnes said that the deal represents good value to shareholders.

Pacific Equity Partners has been an active investor in the region since 1998. PEP currently manages over A$2 billion.

Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity has been involved in several high profile private equity deals in recent years, including the sale of Hertz and Debenhams.