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NZ's Trade Me backs sweetened buyout offer from UK private equity firm

(Reuters) - New Zealand's top online marketplace Trade Me Group (TME.NZ) said it had agreed to be acquired by a British private equity firm for NZ$6.45 a share, after it matched a rival offer.

The London-based private equity group Apax Partners offered NZ$6.40 for each share of Trade Me in November. California-based Hellman & Friedman trumped this with a NZ$6.45 per share offer, which Apax matched on Wednesday.

"After careful consideration, the board has unanimously concluded that this (Apax) offer is consistent with our efforts to deliver maximum value for shareholders," Chairman David Kirk said.

(Reporting by Devika Syamnath in Bengaluru; Editing by Edmund Blair)