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Experian scouts for acquisitions in India
May, 19th 2011

Experian, a global information, analytical tools and marketing services company, is exploring acquisition opportunities in India. The company, which owns 49 per cent stake in India's second-largest credit information bureau, Experian Credit Information Company of India Pvt Limited, is scouting for buy-outs in web analytics, knowledge process outsourcing, business information and digital marketing.

Mergers and acquisitions is a large part of our DNA. In India, we are actively looking at acquisition opportunities to scale up our operations.

This is necessary for accelerated growth in customer base, revenues and profitability, Experian Services India Managing Director and Country Manager Vikram Narayan told Business Standard.

He, however, did not specify the volume of investment the company had earmarked for the acquisitions. Globally, we have been very active in mergers and acquisitions and have closed some large deals in the last couple of years. So, investment would never be a constraint for us, Narayan said.

Since 2006, Experian had accounted for 25 acquisitions, at an average investment of $2.8 billion. The Ireland-based company's largest acquisition so far was that of Serasa, a credit information bureau in Brazil. Experian had acquired Serasa for $1.272 billion.

In India, the current regulatory norms do not allow an overseas investor to acquire the majority stake in a credit information bureau. We would have been interested in a credit information bureau in India, but the current regulations don't permit us to have more than 49 per cent stake. However, we are actively looking for buy-outs in other areas in which we operate, Narayan said.

In November, 2010, Thomson Reuters acquired Pangea3, a legal process outsourcing firm in India, while Ybrant Digital, a Hyderabad-based digital marketing company, bought Lycos Inc from Korean firm Daum Communications for $36 million in August, 2010.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) had, earlier this month, announced new regulations on mergers and acquisitions for companies in India. These regulations would be effective from June 1 and companies planning high-value acquisitions would first need to secure CCI's approval for the deals.

It is not clear whether we would come under these regulations. Based on the feedback I received, I think the general consensus was that companies welcome this move. If required, we will comply with the regulations, Narayan said.

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