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Veda's new US owner to deepen 'adolescent' Aussie/NZ credit analytics

Friday 26th February 2016

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The new US owner of Australasian credit information and analysis group, Veda, says the US$1.8 billion acquisition presents an opportunity to offer a deeper range of credit and other analytics to markets in New Zealand and Australia that are at an "adolescent" stage of development compared to the US.

Ownership of the Sydney-headquartered credit information and analysis group originally founded in New Zealand has passed formally to New York Stock Exchange-listed global analytics firm Equifax in a deal announced in November and finalised this morning.

The Veda business grew from an early form of credit reference-checking agency in New Zealand in 1967, morphing through a merger with debt collector and credit agency Baycorp in 2001 before becoming Veda Advantage in 2006, and becoming a fully privatised vehicle owned by private equity firms Pacific Equity Partners and Merrill Lynch Private Equity Partners.

In a media briefing marking completion of the transaction, the president of Equifax's international business, John Harman, said the Veda acquisition would help the US company to expand into Asian markets, where Veda has presence, but the main attraction was the capacity to expand analytical products to the Australia and New Zealand markets, which were far from mature.

A secondary advantage is Veda's expansion in recent times into Asian markets, including Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia and Indonesia. Equifax has Indian operations but no other Asian market presence.

"The presence outside those countries is interesting and provides potential but the desire to acquire Veda was driven by the revenue opportunity in Australia and New Zealand," Hartman said.

The Veda operations will be bundled with Equifax's Indian analytics business in Bangalore and would make up the "vast majority" of the global company's Asia-Pacific segment, which would be reported separately to shareholders.

According to its website, Equifax has operations throughout North and South America, the UK, Ireland, Spain, France and Russia, although it has yet to identify the right opportunity to enter the huge and potentially lucrative Chinese credit-checking market.

Veda's Sydney-based chief executive, Nerida Caesar, said the acquisition had required extensive liaison with privacy regulators in both New Zealand and Australia and all detailed private information relating to individual credit records of Australians and New Zealanders will continue to be held in servers onshore in those countries.

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