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Credit reporting firm TransUnion for sale: sources

By Paritosh Bansal

(Reuters) - TransUnion's owners are pursuing a possible sale that could fetch roughly $2 billion for the credit information firm, sources familiar with the matter said.

TransUnion, which is owned by private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners and Chicago's Pritzker family, said in July it planned to raise up to $325 million in an initial public offering.

But the Chicago-based company may instead be sold as the IPO market has effectively been shut amid geopolitical and economic uncertainty.

TransUnion is being advised by Deutsche Bank and Bank of America on the sale, the sources said.

Bidders for the business, which competes with firms like Experian and Equifax , include private equity firms, the sources said.

The auction is at an advanced stage, but the process has been hit by problems in the financing markets, which have seen the availability of debt available to private equity firms shrink and the interest rates go up, the sources said.

Private equity-backed deal volume in the third quarter was down nearly 30 percent to $53.1 billion from the same period of last year, according to Thomson Reuters data through September 22.

Dual-track processes, where both an IPO and an outright sale are explored, are often adopted by private equity firms trying to realize their investments in companies.

TransUnion and Bank of America were not immediately available for comment. Deutsche Bank and Madison Dearborn declined to comment.

Chicago-based Madison Dearborn bought a 51 percent stake in TransUnion last year from the Pritzkers, one of the wealthiest families in the United States.

The Pritzkers have been selling assets following a 2001 settlement agreement, under which 11 heirs set a plan to break up the family fortune.

In 2006, the family sold smokeless tobacco company Conwood to Reynolds American for $3.5 billion.

That was followed in 2007 by the sale of 60 percent of manufacturing and services group Marmon Holdings Inc to Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc for $4.5 billion.

Late in 2009, the family took Hyatt Hotels Corp public.

Earlier this year, the Pritzkers sold a controlling interest in Triton Container International Ltd to Warburg Pincus and Vestar Capital Partners for about $1 billion.

(Reporting by Paritosh Bansal in New York, editing by Matthew Lewis)

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