GTCR picks up 500m Callcredit

The Chicago-based firm has bought the UK company from current owner Vitruvian.

US mid-market firm GTCR has agreed to back a secondary management buyout of Callcredit Information Group, a UK credit reference agency, from existing owner Vitruvian Partners.

Financial details about the transaction were undisclosed, but a source familiar with the matter said the deal value was above £480 million (Eur586 million, $802 million).

Leeds-based Callcredit provides credit rating and analytics services to blue-chip clients in areas like alternative lending, insurance, telecoms and utilities, as well as the public sector. It employs around 1,000 people in the UK and also has operations in Japan, China, Dubai and Lithuania.

GTCR was attracted to Callcredit by the calibre of its management, as well as the scope for expansion, according to managing director Collin Roche. “They’re a good team, although they could be more aggressive on the acquisitions front,” he told PEI. “We expect them to be on the offensive. We'd like to see the company expand geographically, as well as move into growth areas like fraud analytics, which is a pervasive problem across geographical boundaries.”

GE Capital, HSBC and Lloyds Bank arranged senior financing for the deal, with Crescent Capital providing a mezzanine facility. DC Advisory and HSBC advised GTCR, while Jefferies International advised Vitruvian.

GTCR made its first foray into the UK financial technology market 18 months ago when it acquired Premium Credit from Bank of America. Roche said the firm was continuing to explore further options across the Atlantic. “We’ve made two of the most significant acquisitons of the UK financial technology world, and we’d certainly like to make more,” he said.

Vitruvian, which bought its majority stake in the UK-based firm in 2009 from Skipton Building Society, declined to disclose its return from the sale. The deal follows the final close of Vitruvian’s second fund, Vitruvian Investment Partnership II, on its £1 billion hard-cap (€1.2 billion, $1.6 billion) in December.

GTCR’s investment was funded from its $3.25 billion Fund X, which was raised in 2011. It has just finished raising its successor vehicle, Fund XI, which closed on January with $3.85 billion of commitments, exceeding its target of $3.25 billion to become the firm’s largest ever. It now has about $11 billion in assets under management. The firm focuses on partnering with management teams to invest in mid-market companies, especially in healthcare, financial services, technology and information services, helping them grow through add-on acquisitions and other operational changes.