Santander Consumer USA to go private in $2.5 billion stock buyout

Majority shareholder Santander Holdings will take the prominent subprime auto lender Santander Consumer USA private in a $2.5 billion deal, both companies announced Tuesday.

Santander Holdings will pay $41.50 per share in cash under a deal unanimously approved by its board of directors. Shareholders will receive about 14 percent premium on the stock price July 1. Santander Holdings announced its initial nonbinding proposal to buy up the rest of Santander Consumer’s stock on July 2.

The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

Santander Holdings had originally offered $39 per share on July 2. At that time, it already owned about 80 percent of Santander Consumer’s stock. Based on the more than 306 million shares outstanding at the end of July, acquiring the remaining 20 percent of shares would cost Santander Holdings about $2.54 billion.

“We believe that our proposal reflects an attractive value to SC’s public shareholders,” Santander Holdings Chairman Timothy Ryan wrote on July 2.

Less than a month after the proposal, Santander Consumer announced it achieved what CFO Fahmi Karam called the “most profitable quarter in the company’s history.” The company on July 28 reported $1.1 billion in net income between April and June.

Santander also announced late last month that it would launch a digital car retail and finance platform in partnership with AutoFi.

Besides its subprime finance business, Santander Consumer also operates Chrysler Capital, a Santander-Stellantis private-label lending operation.

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