A bankruptcy judge in Florida Friday approved the sale of data and skip tracing company TLO to TransUnion. The $154 million cash purchase price was reached in an auction pitting large consumer data providers against one another.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Paul G. Hyman overruled the objections of some companies that felt the auction process had been unfair, paving the way for TransUnion to close the deal.
“This acquisition supports our primary mission to help organizations optimize their risk-based decisions and enable consumers to understand and manage their personal information,” said Jim Peck, TransUnion’s president and CEO. “We are excited about the possibilities the combination of our two companies will bring to our existing customers as well as new markets that need to leverage data and analytics to effectively manage risk.”
But the process by which TransUnion submitted the winning bid was challenged by competitor LexisNexis, which lost out on the acquisition.
TransUnion won the right to buy TLO by submitting a $154 million – plus an additional $12 million in other consideration, like debt payment – bid in a marathon 20-hour auction that stretched into the wee hours of the morning on November 21. Judge Hyman approved that bid a few days later. But there were objections made almost immediately.
According to the South Florida Business Journal, Lexis was set to make a trumping $180 million bid but was cut off around 6:15am by TLO’s bankruptcy attorney. Another report shows that antitrust regulators had already approved TransUnion’s bid, but had not yet vetted Lexis.
A transcript of the auction revealed that many players in the credit reporting and data service provider industry were involved in the process. TransUnion seemed to have struck a deal with Equifax rejecting a proposal from Experian.
TLO entered bankruptcy with the intent to sell its assets after founder Hank Asher died earlier this year. The data assets of TLO were highly sought after by competitors in the ARM skip tracing space.