Lazard’s Sells Dun & Bradstreet Australia for A$233 Million ($209 M)

(Reuters) – Lazard Ltd’s (LAZ.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) Australian private equity arm said on Wednesday it has sold the credit monitoring business Dun & Bradstreet Australia for A$233 million ($209 million), deciding against an initial public offering.

Lazard Carnegie Wylie Australia managing director John Wylie said the sale produced a profit of A$100 million, representing a profit of more than three times the original equity investment made in 2007.

The business was sold to a subsidiary of the Dun & Bradstreet Corp (DNB.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), which said the deal was the largest acquisition by D&B anywhere in the world since 2000.

D&B Corp head of Asia Pacific, David Emery, said in a statement the Australian business has grown rapidly over the past decade and would form the cornerstone of an aggressive Asian growth strategy.

Australian buyout firms have shied away from initial public offerings this year as choppy markets and poor returns from last year’s IPOs Myer (MYR.AX: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Kathmandu (KMD.AX: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) put off investors. [ID:nSGE66C025]

Earlier this year, CHAMP Private Equity sold its Study Group university programme provider to U.S. buyout firm Providence for $570 million, avoiding a float, and Bilfinger Berger’s (GBFG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) pulled the float of its Australian unit Valemus in July.

Wylie said Lazard’s inaugural A$333 million Australian private equity fund, raised in 2006, was almost fully invested, and it was planning a new A$400 million follow-on fund.

(Reporting by Victoria Thieberger; Editing by Ed Davies)