* Agrees to buy further 29.6 pct of Serasa for $1.5 bln
* Deal takes total Serasa holding to 99.6 pct
* Shares up 3.5 percent, top FTSE riser
By Myles Neligan
LONDON, Oct 23 British credit information firm
Experian has agreed to buy a further stake in its
Brazilian affiliate Serasa from a group of banks for $1.5
billion in cash to take its holding to 99.6 percent, it said on
"We see significant potential for future growth in Brazil,
and we are delighted to have the opportunity to further invest
in this exciting region," Experian's chief executive Don Robert
said in a statement.
Experian, best known for checking consumers' credit records
on behalf of banks and retailers, is buying the 29.6 percent
stake in Serasa from a group of four lenders - Itau Unibanco
and Banco Bradesco Financiamentos of
Brazil, Spain's Grupo Santander and Britain's HSBC
The acquisition will be funded through Experian's existing
bank loans, and comes five years after the credit checker first
bought into Serasa.
Experian shares were up 3.5 percent at 1085 pence by 0825
GMT, making them the top riser in Britain's FTSE 100 share index
. The stock has risen more than 20 percent since the
start of the year, against a 5.5 percent rise for the index as a
"We suspect investors may welcome the clarity that this
announcement brings, given ongoing market speculation regarding
a possible minority deal for several months," analysts at
stockbroker Jefferies wrote in a note.
Experian has relied on strong growth in emerging market
economies to help offset a downturn in bank lending in Europe
and the United States since the onset of the 2008 crisis.
The Serasa takeover is expected to complete by the end of
the year, Experian said.