CPPIB, U.S. private equity firms eye DH Corp: Reuters

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and several U.S. private equity firms are interested in acquiring Canadian financial technology services provider DH Corp, according to people familiar with the situation.

TPG, Cerberus Capital Management LP and technology-focused Thoma Bravo are some of the U.S. buyout firms looking at DH, the people said on condition of anonymity because the matter is confidential.

The moves come more than a month after DH appointed a special committee as it received expressions of interest. The company hired Credit Suisse and Royal Bank of Canada as financial advisers. It said at the time that it had received no formal offers.

Shares in DH rose by as much as 6.8 percent in afternoon trading, having been up 2.2 percent prior to the Reuters report on interest from CPPIB and U.S. firms. The shares were up 3.7 percent to $23.2 at 1330 ET, valuing the business at $2.48 billion.

The interest in DH came at a point when its shares were in a slump, dropping to a record low last November. Its shares have since risen by more than 60 percent in anticipation of a deal materializing, but are still trading at just over half the record high they hit in July 2015.

TPG, CPPIB and Cerberus declined to comment. DH and Thoma Bravo did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

CPPIB, Canada’s biggest public pension fund, is directly investing in companies as it looks to diversify capital away from public equity and fixed income markets.

Canada’s major financial institutions are investing heavily in financial technology, or fintech, companies in the expectation that new innovations will transform the financial services industry in decades to come. Fintech investments by private equity firms have also surged in recent years.

CPPIB is likely to partner with a PE firm if it chooses to proceed, the sources said.

Formerly Davis + Henderson Corp, DH has transformed itself from a cheque printing company into a provider of payment and lending services. Its customers include banks and credit unions.

It has close to 8,000 customers, including Canada’s five biggest lenders and more than half of the world’s 50 largest banks. Nearly 60 percent of its $1.5 billion in annual revenue comes from outside the United States.

Given DH made a string of acquisitions in the past few years, any potential buyer will look to extract savings by streamlining operations and revamping the business, the people said.

(Reporting by John Tilak and Matt Scuffham; Editing by Chris Reese and Andrew Hay)

Photo courtesy of Reuters/Mark Blinch