Experian buys Brazil bureau

Michael Bow
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UK CREDIT checking firm Experian yesterday agreed to pay a consortium of banks $1.5bn (£940m) to take full control of São Paulo-based data provider Serasa.

The blue chip company, which took a 70 per cent stake in Serasa in 2007, agreed to take a further 29.6 per cent plus a 0.4 per cent cash adjustment to buyout Itaú Unibanco, Banco Bradesco Financiamentos, Santander and HSBC.

The deal, structured around a put and call option agreed by Experian and the banks in 2007, will see the firm’s subsidiary Experian Brasil take over the firm pending shareholder and regulatory approval.

The deal comes at a time of burgeoning consumer credit in Brazil, with President Dilma Rousseff last week enacting laws which will allow credit bureaus to compile credit scores for customers – a practice previously banned in the country.

Serasa is the market leading bureau in Brazil, with a 60 per cent market share.

Experian chief executive Don Robert said: “Since we acquired the initial stake in Serasa in 2007, the business has performed very strongly.

“We have developed and fully integrated the business, diversified our activities and established a beachhead from which to expand further in Latin America.”

Serasa has proved a solid performer for Experian since 2007, with last year’s revenues hitting $870m and annual revenue growth over three years of 20 per cent. The deal is expected to complete next quarter.