AMSTERDAM Dec 5 U.S. private equity firm Blackstone Group LP has agreed to buy Dutch tax consultancy Intertrust for a reported 675 million euros ($883 million).
Blackstone agreed to buy Intertrust from Dutch private equity firm Waterland in a deal expected to close in coming months after obtaining regulatory approvals, Intertrust said on its web site, confirming what bankers had previously told Reuters Loan Pricing Corp (RLPC).
No financial details were given but Dutch daily Het Financieele Dagblad estimated Blackstone paid about 675 million euros, citing market talk of a price of about nine times Intertrust's gross operating profit.
The acquisition of Intertrust, which aims to help companies avoid high taxes, comes amid growing debate particularly in Britain over the tax arrangements of large international companies.
British lawmakers last month criticised executives of Starbucks, Google and Amazon for not paying more corporate tax.
The Netherlands is a popular location for companies to establish European holding companies to reduce tax payments because it has many bilateral tax agreements with other nations to prevent double taxation.
Such deals can allow a company to pay tax in a country with a low corporate tax rate, such as Ireland or Bermuda, rather than in the Netherlands or any other country in which it operates.
Intertrust's gross operating profit is about 75 million euros, the Dutch newspaper said on Wednesday.
Waterland, which could not immediately comment, bought Intertrust in 2009 for 210 million euros, the paper said.
Intertrust declined to comment, while no-one at Blackstone in London was immediately available to comment.