, the rating agency owned by the French holding company
, said on Tuesday that it had agreed to acquire
Duff & Phelps Credit Rating
of the U.S. for $100 a share, or a total of $528 million.
The bid price offers Duff & Phelps shareholders a 26.6% premium over Monday's closing price of $79. Duff & Phelps surged 17 7/8, or 23%, to 96 7/8 in midday trading.
The acquisition will catapult Fimalac to the ranks of the major U.S. credit agencies, said Marc de Lacharriere, chairman of Fitch IBCA.
"For many years now, Fimalac has been interested in developing a European-owned alternative to the major U.S. agencies," Lacharriere said in a statement. "Through the development of Fitch IBCA and with the acquisition of Duff & Phelps, we now have achieved our goal."
Fitch IBCA's key strengths have been in U.S. securities markets, global banking, European rating activities and U.S. public finance, while Duff & Phelps offers a bigger corporate rating capability and broader coverage of the insurance sector.
Fitch IBCA and Duff & Phelps will have combined annual revenues of $260 million and employ 1,100 worldwide. The companies said they would also concentrate on stepping up investments in technology and Internet delivery needed to bring credit research and ratings to global markets.