TMX to buy Equity Financial's transfer agent business

Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:00pm EST
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TORONTO (Reuters) - TMX Group Ltd (X.TO: Quote) will acquire Equity Financial Holdings Inc's EQI.TO transfer agent and corporate trust services business to broaden its portfolio of services, the Toronto Stock Exchange operator said on Wednesday.

The company said it would pay roughly $64 million for the business, which primarily helps public companies keep track of the owners of their stocks and bonds.

TMX shares ended up 1.4 percent at C$55.50, while Equity Financial stock surged more than 25 percent to C$10.05.

TMX Chief Executive Tom Kloet said his company was well positioned to build on the success of the Equity Financial business, as the deal will allow it to build on its relationships with listed entities and the capital markets advisory community.

Paul Holden, an analyst at CIBC World Markets, described it as a small bolt-on acquisition that fits well with their TMX's existing business and should help it grow.

He estimates the deal could boost earnings by 2 percent in the near term, or 6 cents a share, assuming the deal was cash-only and the business earns C$3 million.

But National Bank Financial analyst Shubha Khan saw the deal as earnings-neutral and said the price looked rich, at 38 times average earnings for the past five years.

The move comes at a time when TMX, which is majority-owned by a consortium of Canadian banks, insurers and pension funds, is facing sluggish trading and listing activity.

The exchange operator earlier this month shied away from talk that it would look beyond Canada for growth through acquisitions.   Continued...