Thomson Reuters takes 54% stake in Pagero, raises buyout offer to thwart rival bids

(Reuters) -Thomson Reuters raised its offer to buy Sweden’s Pagero by 25% to about $789 million on Monday and said it now controls about 54% of the company, seeking to ward off rival bids for the e-invoicing and tax solutions firm.

Thomson Reuters said it increased its offer to 50 crowns per Pagero share, valuing the company at 8.1 billion crowns and topping an offer of 45 crowns per share from U.S.-based sales and tax management services company Avalara Inc.

Thomson Reuters said it has bought about 53.81% of Pagero’s shares and votes from key shareholders, including Summa Equity as well as Pagero CEO and other company executives and employees at the new offer price, which is for all Pagero shareholders.

Last week, Thomson Reuters had offered 40 crowns per share, valuing Pagero at 6.4 billion crowns, beating an offer of 36 crowns per share from U.S. tax technology firm Vertex. Vertex withdrew its offer on Sunday.

The latest offer from Thomson Reuters, which owns the Checkpoint tax and accounting service, is about 39% higher than the Vertex bid, which was made last month.

Pagero, whose services involve digitizing and automating accounts processes, said the independent bid committee of its board of directors recommended Thomson Reuters’ new offer.

Thomson Reuters, which also owns the Westlaw legal database and the Reuters news agency, has made multiple deals in the past few years. In May last year, the company’s CFO told Reuters News that it will have a $10 billion M&A budget until 2025.

Since then, it has announced acquisitions for Britain-based Imagen, a digital content asset management company, for an undisclosed price as well as for California-based Casetext, which helps legal professionals conduct research, analysis and prepare documents using generative AI, for $650 million. ($1 = 10.2711 Swedish crowns)

(Reporting by Gokul Pisharody in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza)