Almost simultaneously Australia’s leading business and credit information providers D&B and Veda Advantage experiencing ownership changes.  On April 2nd Veda Advantage Limited (ASX: VEA) and a consortium comprising Pacific Equity Partners and Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity (the Consortium) announced an offer to acquire all of the shares in Veda Advantage by way of a court approved scheme of arrangement. Veda Advantage and VA Australia Finance Pty Limited (VA Finance), a special purpose company formed by funds advised by the Consortium, also today signed a merger implementation agreement in relation to the Scheme. This follows discussions between Veda Advantage and the Consortium including due diligence by the Consortium as set out in the announcement on 30 January 2007. 

The consortium made a cash offer of A$3.61 per share, which values Veda Advantage at A$814 million on an equity basis and A$968 million on an enterprise value basis, the latter valuation representing a multiple of 16.6 to 17.5 times expected EBIT for 2007 financial year.  Shareholders will have the opportunity to vote in an extraordinary general meeting in early to mid June 2007.  It is all about shareholder value and little has been said about what the potential new equity owners will do with the business.  Nevertheless the consortium has indicated that it will seek to retain the existing management. 

In February Veda Advantage provided an update on the progress of the New Zealand Bureau Rebuild project.  The project involves the complete replacement of the existing New Zealand credit bureau platform and is designed to enable the deployment of a significantly larger suite of value added products for the local market.  The estimated cost for the project is A$19-A$20 million with A$13 having been incurred up to date.   Source: Company Press Release  www.vedaadvantage.com

BIIA Newsletter April – 2007 Issue