Australia’s Computershare, a global transfer agent and technology provider for the financial services industry, announced Monday an agreement to acquire New York-based shareholder services firm Georgeson Shareholder Communications for roughly $115 million in cash.

The cash consideration for the acquisition will be funded entirely through existing cash reserves and debt facilities, Computershare said. The deal also includes incentives based on future performance that could boost the total value of the deal to $124 million. Currently, Georgeson is projecting 2004 revenue of $128 million.

Georgeson provides shareholder communications and strategic advisory services to mutual funds and corporations around the world, including corporate proxy solicitation, in which it has an estimated 55% market share. Computershare said it plans to keep the Georgeson name in the U.S. and in its other markets.

"This acquisition places Computershare at the forefront of shareholder communications in the North American market," Chris Morris, Computershare’s chief executive officer, said in a press release.

Computershare said it plans to send a team of executives from its home office in Melbourne to the U.S. to join the local transition team tasked with managing the integration of its businesses and implement Computershare’s financial reporting infrastructure.

The deal is expected to close by the end of 2003, pending final approval from the companies’ shareholders and board of directors along with U.S. regulatory approval. The deal is expected to be earnings-per-share positive in the first year and to eclipse Computershare’s return on investment objective.

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