* Callcredit sold for 480 million pounds
* Deal funded with equity and leveraged loans
By Claire Ruckin and Clare Hutchison
LONDON, Feb 17 (Reuters) - U.S. private equity firm GTCR has acquired British credit checking agency and consumer data provider Callcredit Information Group along with the group’s management, the companies said on Monday.
GTCR and Callcredit did not disclose financial terms, but a banking source told Reuters that former owner Vitruvian Partners had sold the company for 480 million pounds ($803.09 million).
Callcredit provides credit referencing services for payday lenders and will allow GTCR to tap into the rapidly growing demand for credit checking services in the UK and the trend towards real-time and data-based decision making, said Collin Roche, a managing director at GTCR.
The Chicago-based buyout house, which focuses on financial services and technology, healthcare and information services, plans to help Callcredit grow through further acquisitions and expand overseas, Roche added.
The deal, which banking sources said will be funded with equity and a debt financing of around 235 million pounds, attracted a number of banks and funds eager to find somewhere to put their cash to work after a quiet year for mergers and acquisitions.
GE, HSBC and Lloyds provided senior leveraged loans to back the buyout, which will be launched for syndication to be sold to other banks and institutional investors in the next couple of weeks, the sources said.
In addition, Crescent Capital will provide a mezzanine loan, the sources added.
The financing totals around 6.5 to seven times Callcredit’s core earnings of around 35 million pounds, the sources said.
Vitruvian bought Callcredit in 2009 and put the business up for sale last year, hiring Jefferies to run a competitive auction process.
Established 14 years ago, Callcredit has around 1,000 employees in the UK and has operations in Japan, China, Dubai and Lithuania.