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Pacific Equity Partners acquires US stock transfer agent

The Sydney-based private equity firm has paid an estimated $1bn for a majority interest in American Stock Transfer as it looks to build its global share registry business.

Pacific Equity Partners, the Australian buyout group, has purchased a majority stake in American Stock Transfer & Trust (AST), an American stock transfer agent.

A spokesman for the firm told PEO that Pacific Equity Partners has purchased a substantial majority stake in the company while the sellers retain a significant minority interest. Financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed, but a Financial Times report estimated its the deal's debt and equity components total just under $1 billion (€646 million).

AST is a stock transfer agent that provides share registry, IPO counselling, trustee services and other stock-related services to more than 2,800 leading companies across various industries. Its clients include computer giant Dell; Honeywell International, an American conglomerate; chemical manufacturer Eastern Chemical; and financial services company Wachovia.

AST will now join forces with Link Market Services, a Pacific Equity Partners-owned Australian share registry with operations in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, the UK, the US and South Africa. Pacific Equity Partners has backed Link’s acquisition of ten businesses with operations in share registry, superannuation administration and investor relations over the last four years.

Paul McCullagh, Link chairman and founder of Pacific Equity Partners, said: “AST and Link have both invested deeply in systems development and technology across their respective share registry, analysis and administration platforms. We see great potential for taking the state-of-the-art AST platform into new geographies.”

The firm’s investment in AST is another step towards the establishing of a global share registry business. It closely follows Link’s acquisition last week of Intime Spectrum Registry, an Indian share registry with more than 850 clients and based in Mumbai.

Last year, both AST and Pacific Equity Partners were on the shortlist to acquire UK-based Lloyds TSB Registrars, which was ultimately acquired by global private equity firm Advent International for $1.1 billion.

Goldman Sachs JBWere, ICG and National Australia Bank provided financing for the AST deal.