CoStar Group, private equity firms vying to acquire CoreLogic: sources

(Reuters) - CoStar Group Inc CSGP.O and a private equity consortium led by Warburg Pincus and GTCR are among the bidders seeking to acquire U.S. property data and analytics company CoreLogic Inc CLGX.N, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

The interest in CoreLogic comes after investment firms Cannae Holdings Inc CNNE.N and Senator Investment Group LP made a $7 billion offer for the company and launched a campaign to take over its board of directors.

Cannae and Senator, whose latest offer was for $66 per share in cash, are not being allowed to carry out due diligence on CoreLogic because the company considers their bid too low, the sources said, requesting anonymity because the matter is confidential.

“In light of recent market speculation, CoreLogic today confirmed it is engaging with third parties indicating preliminary interest based on public information in the potential acquisition of the company at a value at or above $80 per share,” CoreLogic said in a statement. It did not name any of the suitors, and added that there was no certainty that any deal would be reached.

Warburg Pincus, GTCR, Cannae and Senator declined to comment, while CoStar did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

CoreLogic shares were up 14.5% at $78.19 on Wednesday morning in New York.

CoreLogic had said it was not in the best interest of its shareholders to open its books to Cannae and Senator for an offer that undervalues the company. The two investment firms have amassed a 15% stake in CoreLogic and have nominated nine directors to the company’s 12-member board. CoreLogic shareholders are due to vote on the board’s composition on Nov. 17.

Cannae and Senator have said CoreLogic is enjoying the peak of the mortgage cycle, given that record-low interest rates have fueled a boom in parts of the property market. They have argued that the consortium is an ideal buyer of CoreLogic because Cannae’s chairman, Bill Foley, has over three decades’ experience as a financial industry operator. Yet their sizeable stake in CoreLogic would also deliver them a big gain were another suitor to clinch a deal for the company.

Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Additional reporting by Svea Herbst in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis, Kirsten Donovan