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Carlyle-Led Group Agrees to Buy Duff & Phelps for $665.5 Million

Dec. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Carlyle Group LP and investors including Swiss bank Pictet & Cie agreed to buy investment- banking firm Duff & Phelps Corp. for $665.5 million.

The buyers, also including Stone Point Capital LLC and Geneva-based Edmond de Rothschild Group, will pay $15.55 a share, 19 percent more than Duff & Phelps’s closing price on Dec. 28. The transaction is expected to be completed in the first half, the companies said in a statement yesterday.

The group of buyers will help New York-based Duff & Phelps continue its international expansion, according to the statement. Revenue at the 80-year-old firm, which also provides financial-advisory services, is predicted to rise 17 percent this year to $465.8 million, the average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Shares of Duff & Phelps, which has more than 1,000 employees worldwide, have declined 10 percent this year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 12 percent. The stock advanced 1.9 percent to $13.05 on Dec. 28, below the 2007 initial public offering price of $16.

Private-equity firm Carlyle, based in Washington, has jumped 18 percent since its May IPO. This month, the firm agreed to buy a stake in energy investor NGP Energy Capital Management for $424 million. Other deals this year included the photo archive Getty Images Inc. and DuPont Co.’s auto-paint unit.

‘Go-Shop Period’

The Duff & Phelps merger agreement provides for a “go- shop” period ending on Feb. 8, during which the company can solicit and receive alternative proposals. Duff & Phelps would pay a break-up fee of about $6.65 million if it gets a higher bid and ends the agreement before March 8.

Duff & Phelps, started in 1932 to provide investment research, was a financial adviser to the examiner in the Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. bankruptcy in 2009 and an administrator for the Rangers Football Club Plc in the largest soccer club insolvency in U.K. history, according to its website.

Duff & Phelps was advised by Centerview Partners and got legal counsel from Kirkland & Ellis LLP. The group of buyers’ lead adviser was Sandler O’Neill & Partners LP. Credit Suisse Group AG, Barclays Plc and RBC Capital Markets also advised and provided financing. Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz was legal counsel.

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