GB Group plc has swooped for a US counterpart in a £547 million acquisition.

The Chester-headquartered expert in digital identity and identity fraud software has conditionally agreed to acquire Acuant.

It says the acquisition will create a ‘global leader’ with combined revenue of around £265m and, by significantly increasing its US presence, prime the group for further global expansion.

GBG estimates the deal accelerates its data, product and platform strategy by approximately two years.

Acuant is a fast-growing, profitable and cash-generative business which generated $58.1m revenue and $11.4m profit in its last annual accounts.

The deal will be funded by £300 million in new shares made available to institutional investors and £155m in existing cash resources and a new £175m revolving credit facility.

£87m worth of shares will pass to parties at Acuant, with its management and private equity majority owner Audax rolling 28% and 19% of their respective holdings in Acuant into the combined group.

The deal is expected to close on 29th November. GBG is also making £5m of retail shares available through the PrimaryBid platform.

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“We are delighted to announce the acquisition of Acuant. This is a business that we have worked with – and admired – for many years,” said GBG CEO Chris Clark. 

“The combination of our two businesses is a complementary and powerful one. Together, we are creating a global leader in identity verification as well as strengthening our capability to capitalise on the adjacent, emerging and fast-growing identify fraud market.

“The US is the largest and most strategic market for location, identity and fraud services. The combination of GBG and Acuant accelerates our share in this market, increasing scale, customer base and introducing us to new and exciting sectors. 

“As importantly, it also strengthens the breadth of our technology portfolio which we can use to support our current customers in new ways in growth geographies such as APAC and Europe, where we already have a strong footprint. 

“The team at Acuant bring new skills and talent to GBG, an aligned culture and a shared vision to enable trust in the digital economy.

“We look forward to welcoming these new colleagues to the GBG family and are excited about the potential of the combined businesses and the acceleration this gives to our growth and strategic goals.”

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