Apax Partners completes offer for Bankrate

By Palm Beach Business.com

NORTH PALM BEACH — Private investment firm Apax Partners now controls 80 percent of Bankrate Inc. after completing a tender offer for the common stock of the internet publishing company.

A tender offer of $28.50 a share for the stock attracted about 5.4 million shares, or about 28 percent of the outstanding total. Apex previously received 24 percent of the company through agreements with Bankrate insiders.

To get to 80 percent, Apax exercised a “top-up” option included in the terms of the deal that gives it the right to buy 56 million newly issued shares of Bankrate at $28.50 each. That option was included in the deal to ensure Apax control of the company if it couldn’t get sufficient shares through the tender offer.

Apax also told Bankrate that it will buy any remaining shares not tendered at $28.50.

Bankrate was formed in 1976 by the late Robert Heady, a Massachusetts resident who published Bank Advertising News. In 1982, when Congress deregulated bank interest rates, Heady, who had by then moved to Palm Beach County, launched Bank Rate Monitor to cover loan rates, credit card rates, savings rates and a variety of bank fees.

Bank Rate became the authoritative source on interest rates, supplying data to newspapers and television networks throughout the country, regularly quoted in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and CNN.

In 1993, Pennsylvania businessman Peter Morse, a former FAO Schwartz chairman bought the firm. Morse took the company public and still serves on its board. He owns better than 21 percent of Bankrate and stands to make $115 million from the deal, according to the company's current proxy statement filed with the SEC.



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