ION Capital, GIC Offer to Buy Italy’s Cerved for $2.2 Billion
(Bloomberg) -- ION Capital Partners and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC offered to buy Italian financial services firm Cerved Group SpA for about 1.85 billion euros ($2.2 billion) in cash as consolidation accelerates in the European financial industry.
The offer of 9.50 euros per share represents a premium of about 36% over Cerved’s March 5 closing share price. The company on Sunday said it was in talks about the sale of a unit, sending the shares higher.
Cerved climbed as much as 21% in Milan trading, the steepest intraday advance on record, and traded at 9.55 euros by 11:35 a.m.
“We suggest tendering the shares,” Pietro Solidoro, an analyst at Bestinver, said in a note.
Dublin-based ION, led by Italian businessman Andrea Pignataro, is an acquisitive financial data group that owns businesses like Dealogic, MergerMarket’s owner Acuris and trading software maker Fidessa. Last week, it agreed to buy financial services provider Cedacri for about 1.5 billion euros.
For Cerved, it’s the second takeover attempt in less than two years, after Advent International launched an effort in 2019 that was later withdrawn after Cerved’s share price had risen amid speculation of a bid.
ION’s bid was made through Castor, a unit held by FermION, which is 85.75% owned by Ion Capital, 10% by GIC with the remaining stake held by institutional investors, according to a statement from Castor. Italy’s FSI fund is also part of the binding offer.
The takeover of Cerved will proceed only if at least 90% of shareholders accept. If successful, the firm will be delisted.
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