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Zaio in Talks to Buy Appraisal Management Company Axis

MAR 7, 2014 5:53pm ET
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Zaio Corp., a Canadian company that tracks property values in the U.S., is in talks to acquire Axis Appraisal Management Solutions in San Rafael, Calif.

It would be the second recent acquisition by Zaio in the real estate valuation field in this country after shuttering its U.S. property database unit, Zaio Inc., in October 2008. Last month, it finalized its initial acquisition of a 60% stake in Valuation Vision, a Carlsbad, Calif., provider of broker price opinions, and announced an agreement to acquire the remaining 40% stake from Kirchmeyer Group.

Zaio has offered to buy Axis for $11.4 million in cash and stock, according to a Monday press release. The companies aim to have a firm deal by April 15. During that time, Axis is prohibited from entering into negotiations with other parties.

Axis would continue "continue to function as it has" after the closing of the deal, according to Zaio Corp. president and chief executive Dave King, "but with greater resources, technology and systems to support its base of appraisers and clients." Meanwhile, Zaio would gain "a broader product offering into the regulated appraisal market and operating licenses across the United States," King said.

Valuation Vision was founded in December 2011 as a sister firm to appraisal management company Kirchmeyer & Associates and Real-Info Inc., a developer of automated valuation models. Zaio previously acquired Kirchmeyer & Associates and Real-Info in July 2007, but the deal was unwound a year later in a move that coincided with the closing of Zaio's U.S. operation.

James Kirchmeyer, who initially joined Zaio as president after the acquisition, left the company and regained control of the AMC and AVM companies he founded. They operated under the Kirchmeyer Group umbrella until December 2012, when Real Matters, the Canadian-based parent of AMC Solidifi, acquired Kirchmeyer & Associates, creating the third-largest AMC in the U.S.—though the acquisition did not include the Valuation Vision and Real-Info businesses.

Following the Solidifi acquisition, James Kirchmeyer joined the AMC as executive vice president of sales and marketing, and separately, continues to own Real-Info.

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