Harland Clarke to take Valassis private for $1.31B

NEW YORK (AP) — Harland Clarke Holdings Corp. plans to take coupon distributor Valassis private for approximately $1.31 billion in a move that will help diversify its business and expand its client base.

Harland, a subsidiary of billionaire Ron Perelman's investment firm MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc., will pay $34.04 per Valassis share. That's an 18 percent premium to its Tuesday closing price of $28.82.

Valassis, based in Livonia, Mich., has about 38.5 million shares outstanding, according to FactSet. The companies put the deal's value at about $1.84 billion. Shares of Valassis Communications Inc. — which owns and makes related coupon inserts — surged $5.96, or 21.1 percent, to $34.26 in premarket trading Wednesday about 30 minutes ahead of the market opening.

Harland, which provides payment products and other services to businesses, said that it will finance the deal with available cash and new borrowings. The company said it has received committed financing from Credit Suisse, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Citigroup Global Markets to complete the buyout.

Both companies' boards unanimously approved the transaction. The acquisition is expected to close in 2014's first quarter. Valassis will become a Harland subsidiary and stop trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

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