Three months ago, infoUSA proved unable to persuade its smaller rival, Digital Impact, to sell out. After repeated attempts to woo DI at a sales price of $2 per share -- and repeated spurnings -- infoUSA received the ultimate insult from its intended: There was "someone else."
Specifically, there was Acxiom
How much more attractive? About 75%. Where infoUSA tried (twice) to buy DI on the cheap, Acxiom proved willing to pay through the nose from the very first. Acxiom's $3.50-per-share offer put infoUSA out of the running toot sweet. As it now turns out, it also drove infoUSA away from the public markets.
Yesterday evening, infoUSA issued a press release announcing that it had received a buyout offer from a company controlled by its own CEO, Vin Gupta. Mr. Gupta already owns 38% of infoUSA and is now offering to purchase the remaining 62% of the company's shares for a 25% premium. At $11.75 per share, Mr. Gupta's bid now values infoUSA at a market cap of $630 million.
While little is known about the company that Mr. Gupta intends to use for the acquisition (called a "special purpose vehicle" or "SPV" in mergers-and-acquisitions parlance), it's unlikely that "Vin Gupta & Co. LLC" has substantial assets. Thus, it will probably require substantial assistance to finance the acquisition. In fact, the press release says right up front that the deal depends on the SPV's success in "finalizing the debt financing" for its purchase offer.
That shouldn't pose a serious problem. Acquiring the remaining infoUSA shares will cost roughly $390 million; at last report, infoUSA had about $190 million in net debt. The total debt load assumed by Vin Gupta & Co. LLC should be in the neighborhood of $580 million. While that may sound like a lot, infoUSA produces strong cash flows from its business, averaging more than $55 million in annual free cash flow over the past three years. It should be a strong enough operator to absorb additional debt.
Unlike the company's previous bids for wayward DI, as long as infoUSA shareholders like the price, chances are this deal will go through.
Fool contributor Rich Smith has no position in any of the companies mentioned in this article.