Verisk Analytics Inc., a supplier of data to insurers and banks, agreed to buy Wood Mackenzie for about 1.85 billion pounds ($2.8 billion) in cash, gaining a business providing information to the energy, chemicals and mining industries.
Verisk Analytics will finance the purchase from Hellman & Friedman LLC and other shareholders with $2 billion of debt, the companies said in a statement Tuesday. The rest will be funded with equity, they said. The deal is expected to be completed in the second quarter, subject to regulatory approval.
Wood Mackenzie, based in Edinburgh, would strengthen Verisk’s analytics business, which focuses on the property and casualty-insurance industry. The U.K. company reported 2014 revenue of 227 million pounds and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 107 million pounds.
Verisk, formed in 1971 as an association of property- casualty insurers to gather industry data, has been expanding through acquisitions since its 2009 initial public offering to provide information to credit-card and health companies. Chief Executive Officer Scott Stephenson said Feb. 25 that the Jersey City, New Jersey-based company was seeking deals to expand beyond the U.S. and push into new lines of business.
“Wood Mac could leverage Verisk’s property-information, aerial-imagery and weather-climate capabilities and help build out its supply chain solutions,” Jeffrey P. Meuler, an analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co., said in a March 2 note.
Wood Mackenzie provides research and consulting and has offices in locations including Beijing, London, Dubai, Calgary, Houston, New York and Moscow, according to its website. Hellman & Friedman acquired a 63 percent stake in the Edinburgh-based company in a 2012 deal that valued it at 1.1 billion pounds.
Verisk had also planned a $650 million takeover of EagleView Technology Corp. It scrapped the deal in December after antitrust regulators said the purchase would give Verisk too large a share in the market for aerial images used by insurers. The company said at the time that it would instead repurchase $500 million of shares.
McGraw Hill Financial Inc., the parent of Standard & Poor’s, was among bidders for Wood Mackenzie, the Financial Times said on Feb. 28, citing people familiar with the talks. Wood Mackenzie had hired Lazard Ltd. and also considered an IPO, the FT reported.
Wood Mackenzie’s CEO Stephen Halliday will continue to lead the business, reporting to Stephenson. Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Corp. advised Veriskand are acting as joint lead arrangers on a $2.9 billion bridge financing to support the transaction. Deutsche Bank AG and Lazard Ltd. worked with Wood Mackenzie.
Verisk rose 1 percent to $71.37 on Monday in New York. The company has a market value of $11.3 billion.
–With assistance from Kenneth Wong in Berlin.