According to Sky News a pack of buyout firms is vying with Germany’s Media Firm Bertelsmann, for control of Callcredit, one of the UK’s fastest-growing credit information businesses. Sky News understands that a handful of bidders are competing to buy Callcredit Information Group, including Charterhouse, Permira and Chicago-based GTCR. It is unclear which arm of Bertelsmann has expressed an interest in Callcredit, but it was likely to be Arvato, a provider of business process outsourcing services, debt collection and consumer credit information (Arvato Infoscore).
Vitruvian Partners, a buyout firm, is hoping to attract a price of around £400m for Callcredit, which it has owned since 2009.
Callcredit, which has been dubbed a “mini-Experian” because of its resemblance to the FTSE-100 credit referencing giant, employs around 800 people at sites across the UK. It competes with Experian and Equifax in the credit referencing market, which is worth billions of pounds a year.
Callcredit (formerly part of Skipton Building Society) has seen sales and profits grow rapidly since the business changed hands, with the business buoyed by growing demand for greater volumes of consumer credit data.
Last year, GE Capital and Ares Capital Europe agreed to provide new debt facilities to Callcredit, while Lloyds Banking Group, Callcredit’s existing banker, continues to provide clearing services and a revolving credit facility to the company. Callcredit and Jefferies declined to comment.
Sky News reported separately that a looming crackdown on the payday lending sector could scupper hopes of a £400m-plus payday for the owners of Callcredit, because it is a supplier of information to the payday lending sector. Sky News understands that a number of bidders for Yorkshire-based Callcredit have expressed concern that the profit the company generates from so-called alternative finance providers could be substantially eroded by political hostility toward the sector.