New Zealand’s Trade Me Group gets $1.8 billion buyout offer from U.S. private equity firm: Reuters

New Zealand’s e-commerce leader Trade Me Group (TME.NZ) on Wednesday received a NZ$2.56 billion ($1.77 billion) takeover offer from a U.S.-based private equity firm, a higher bid than one from a London-based counterpart last month.

California-based Hellman & Friedman offered NZ$6.45 per share to buy all shares of Trade Me, the company said in a statement on the New Zealand stock exchange.

This offer is at a 6.6 percent premium to Trade Me’s closing price on Tuesday and 0.8 percent higher than the NZ$6.40 per share takeover bid from London-based private equity group Apax Partners received last month.

Trade Me has informed Apax Partners, which is currently conducting due diligence, of the competing proposal.

“The Board has decided that it is in the interests of Trade Me and consistent with its fiduciary obligations to also engage with Hellman & Friedman on the new proposal,” the company said.

Shares of the company traded 1.8 percent higher in early trade, compared with a 1.3 percent lower New Zealand benchmark.