EQT Targets Control of German Credit Score Firm Schufa
(Bloomberg) -- EQT AB is in talks with the owners of Schufa Holding AG about taking control of the Germany’s equivalent to the FICO credit score firm in the U.S., according to people familiar with the matter.
The private equity firm has already secured a roughly 10% stake in the business from French bank Societe Generale and is in discussions with Deutsche Bank AG, Commerzbank AG, savings banks and other Schufa owners to gather more, the people said.
Stockholm-based EQT values Schufa at 2 billion euros ($2.3 billion) based on the Societe Generale purchase, the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private. Acquiring stakes from Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank could bring EQT’s overall holding in Schufa to about 40%, they said.
Deliberations are ongoing and Schufa shareholders could decide to exercise a right of first refusal on stakes being sold by other investors, one of the people said. Commerzbank has an 18.6% interest in Schufa, according to its annual report.
Wiesbaden, Germany-based Schufa is a household name in Europe’s largest economy, providing credit scores to people seeking financing for everything from cars to mobile phones. It was founded in 1927 to help companies share their payment experiences of customers with each other. Since 2004, it’s also offered business information about companies.
Schufa’s owners had been in talks with buyout firms including EQT and Hellman & Friedman about a sale, Bloomberg News reported in March. Since then, EQT has engaged with shareholders, politicians and consumer advocacy groups over the future of a company that holds data on tens of millions of Germans, the people said.
Representatives for Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, EQT, Schufa and Societe Generale declined to comment.
EQT has a track record of investing in Germany, with its portfolio companies including broadband provider Deutsche Glasfaser and hand sanitizer producer Schuelke. In December, it agreed to sell Germany-based facilities manager Apleona Group GmbH to PAI Partners.
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