Analysis & Comment

Intuit to buy Credit Karma for $7.1 billion in cash-and-stock deal

(Reuters) – Intuit (INTU.O) said on Monday it would buy privately held personal finance portal Credit Karma in a cash-and-stock deal for about $7.1 billion, as the TurboTax maker seeks to expand further into consumer finance.

The deal hands Intuit access to Credit Karma’s trove of financial data on millions of Americans.

Credit Karma gets data by letting customers access their credit scores and some personal finance tools for free. In turn, it offers third-party credit cards and loans to customers, tailored to their credit history.

“Together with Credit Karma, the customers will have access to all their information in one place, and then we’ll be able to match them with financial products that are right for them,” Chief Executive Officer Sasan Goodarzi said.

This is the largest deal ever in Intuit’s 37-year history and the first sizable one under Goodarzi, who took over the reins last year.

Credit Karma was valued at about $4 billion based on a funding round in 2018, led by private equity firm Silver Lake. (

The purchase price will be payable in equal portions of cash and Intuit shares, which are being valued at about $299.73 per share, the company said.

The transaction would be neutral to accretive to Intuit’s adjusted earnings per share in the first year after the deal closes, which is expected in the second half of 2020.

“(The) combination could offer significant data advantages” said KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Josh Beck, “while potentially providing a launching pad for future innovative financial services.”

The Wall Street Journal first reported details of the talks on Sunday.

Intuit’s shares were up nearly 2% after market. Intuit’s shares closed down nearly 4% on Monday. Broader markets also fell sharply amid heightened coronavirus fears. [.N]

The deal is a nod to startups choosing to sell themselves over pursuing a listing. Credit Karma was expected to be eyeing an IPO. Another fintech startup, Plaid Inc, sold itself in a $5.3 billion deal to Visa Inc (V.N) last month.

Intuit reported its second-quarter results on Monday, posting a 27% rise in profit compared to a year earlier, as it earned more from its QuickBooks book-keeping software. (

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Analysis & Comment

Two suitors for Thyssenkrupp elevator division sign fair owner pledge

DUESSELDORF, Germany (Reuters) – The two consortia bidding for Thyssenkrupp’s (TKAG.DE) 16 billion euro ($17.3 billion) elevator division have signed a fair owner agreement, a key demand by labor union IG Metall to protect jobs, a company spokesman said on Saturday.

The move leaves wide open the race for the asset, potentially Europe’s biggest private equity transaction since 2007, ahead of a Feb. 27 meeting of Thyssenkrupp’s supervisory board where a final decision could be made.

Two consortia are battling it out: Blackstone (BX.N), Carlyle (CG.O) and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board on one side and Advent and Cinven [CINV.UL], supported by the Adbu Dhabi Investment Authority and Germany’s RAG foundation, on the other.

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Analysis & Comment

Hedge fund Odey to vote against Anglo's 'unfair' 405 million stg Sirius bid

LONDON (Reuters) – Hedge fund Odey Asset Management said it would oppose Anglo American’s (AAL.L) 405 million pounds ($526 million) bid to acquire a huge fertilizer project from Sirius Minerals (SXX.L), saying the terms do not represent fair value.

The asset under a national park in North Yorkshire, northern England, is Britain’s biggest mining project and has political resonance as the government works to create jobs in an economically disadvantaged part of the country.

Its future was in jeopardy until Anglo made its 5.5 pence per share bid for a project whose viability some analysts have questioned. But Odey said the offer was too low and seems “to make a mockery of both internal and external audits at Sirius.”

In an open letter, Odey, which held a 1.29% economic interest in Sirius as of Feb. 18, said it would only vote in favor of a bid at 7 pence per share or more.

“The lack of ‘final’ offer, in Odey’s opinion, suggests that Anglo American would be willing to bid substantially more for Sirius, with the investment case remaining highly attractive for Anglo American, even at a materially higher bid level,” the hedge fund said in the letter.

A spokesman for Anglo American declined comment. Sirius said in an emailed statement that its board was unanimous in recommending shareholders vote for Anglo’s bid as it stands.

“We recognize that the current offer does not represent the value that the board and shareholders had previously hoped for. However, given the situation the company finds itself in, we face a stark choice,” the statement said.

“In the event of this transaction being unsuccessful there is a high probability that the business will need to be placed into administration or liquidation.”

Anglo American agreed last month to buy Sirius Minerals for 405 million pounds in cash, marking the global miner’s return to fertilizers.

Sirius had struggled to find financing in private markets and last year scrapped a plan to raise $500 million in a bond sale.

Its shares have fallen by around 75% since the start of 2019 despite a bounce when news of the Anglo American bid broke. By 1200 GMT on Wednesday they were up 3% at 5.19 pence, roughly in line with the UK mining sector .FTNMX1770

The share price fall has hit many local people who invested in the plan to develop what Sirius has said is the world’s largest deposit of polyhalite, a multi-nutrient fertilizer.

Graphic: Sirius shares battered by financing trouble

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Analysis & Comment

VIP Cinema, which makes luxury movie theater seating, files for bankruptcy

(Reuters) – VIP Cinema Holdings, the largest maker of luxury reclining seats for U.S. movie theaters, on Tuesday filed for bankruptcy, citing a glut of seating as box office receipts fell, screen growth slowed, and older seats lasted longer than expected.

In filings with the U.S. bankruptcy court in Delaware, VIP said its Chapter 11 reorganization would hand control to its lenders and private equity firm H.I.G. Capital, which would take a 51% equity stake, and eliminate $178 million of long-term debt.

Court approval is required. VIP was founded in 2008 in New Albany, Mississippi, as a residential furniture maker, and moved its corporate offices to St. Louis last year. It said it has a 70% share of the U.S. market for luxury movie theater seating.

In a court filing, Chief Restructuring Officer Stephen Spitzer said the premium recliner market had by 2017 “reached a near saturation point” following theater upgrades by chains such as AMC, Cinemark and Cineplex, and the number of new screens has since remained “relatively flat.”

He also said VIP’s initial belief that seats it sold in 2012 and 2013 would need replacement by now was incorrect, in part because box office and theater attendance have fallen, and the company now expects a “much longer” replacement cycle.

U.S. movie theaters grossed $11.32 billion in ticket sales in 2019, down 4.8% from 2018, according to Box Office Mojo.

Spitzer said that after the restructuring, “VIP will be well-equipped to succeed in the competitive consumer landscape.”

VIP hopes to emerge from bankruptcy by mid-April, while preserving 373 jobs.

H.I.G. is based in Miami and manages more than $35 billion in equity capital, according to its website. It invested $62.5 million in VIP in 2017, Spitzer said.

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Analysis & Comment

Australia's National Storage REIT says Warburg Pincus made $1.2 billion bid

(Reuters) – National Storage REIT (NSR.AX) revealed on Tuesday New York-based private equity firm Warburg Pincus as the third suitor in the race to buy Australia’s largest self-storage operator, offering A$1.73 billion ($1.16 billion).

The A$2.20 per share, non-binding, indicative proposal from Warburg Pincus competes with China’s Gaw Capital Partners’ similar offer and New York-listed Public Storage’s (PSA.N) A$2.40 per share bid.

The National Storage board has decided to provide Warburg Pincus with access to non-exclusive due diligence and both the parties have entered into a confidentiality agreement for accessing material non-public information concerning the target.

National Storage said that the Warburg Pincus offer, disclosed only on Tuesday, came prior to Public Storage’s proposal announced on Feb. 14, while the approach from Gaw Capital was announced last month.

National Storage had entered into a confidentiality agreement with Gaw Capital and Public Storage as the suitors conduct non-exclusive due diligence including review of confidential information provided by National Storage.

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Analysis & Comment

Investec pushes on with listing of asset management arm Ninety One

LONDON (Reuters) – South Africa-based banking group Investec (INVP.L) is pressing ahead with the spin out of its asset management unit, with the renamed business Ninety One confirming its intention to float in London and Johannesburg on Monday.

Ninety One, which has 121 billion pounds ($157.75 billion) of assets under management, intends to have a free float of 60-65% of its issued shares. The business confirmed it plans to debut on the two stock exchanges on March 16.

JPMorgan and Bank of America Merrill Lynch are bookrunners.

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