Consortium to buy Dun & Bradstreet for $6.9BN

Dun & BradstreetAn investor group led by CC Capital, Cannae Holdings and funds affiliated with Thomas H. Lee Partners LP is to acquire financial services firm Dun & Bradstreet in a take-private deal valued at $5.4 billion, excluding debt.

Under the buyout agreement, shareholders of the 177-year-old Short Hills, N.J., financial-services company will receive $145 in cash for each share of common stock they own, Dun & Bradstreet said late Wednesday in a news release. That represents a premium of about 30% over its closing share price of $111.63 on Feb. 12, the last trading day before the company said it planned a strategic review of the business.

Thomas J. Manning, Dun & Bradstreet’s chief executive, said that the deal is the “culmination of a thoughtful and comprehensive review of the value creation opportunities available to the company as part of a full portfolio and business assessment and exploration of strategic alternatives with multiple financial sponsors”. Mr. Manning and James N. Fernandez, a director of the firm, will serve as CEO and chairman, respectively, through the deal’s closing, Dun & Bradstreet said.

The New York Stock Exchange-listed company will become privately held after the closing of the deal, which it values at $6.9 billion including the assumption of $1.5 billion of Dun & Bradstreet’s net debt and net pension obligations.

“As a private company, Dun & Bradstreet will be well positioned to reinvigorate growth and create increased value for all stakeholders,” said Thomas Hagerty, a managing director at private-equity firm Thomas H. Lee.

The deal will be financed through a combination of committed equity financing provided by the investor group, as well as debt financing that has been committed to by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citigroup Inc. and RBC Capital Markets, Dun & Bradstreet said.

Dun & Bradstreet said its board is unanimously recommending that shareholders vote to adopt the agreement a coming special meeting. The deal is expected to close within six months, subject to shareholder approval, regulatory and other customary conditions, Dun & Bradstreet said.

However, the agreement also provides for a 45-day “go-shop” period to draw more potential buyers, the company said.

Dun & Bradstreet said it would have the right to terminate the deal agreement to enter into a superior proposal subject to certain conditions and procedures.

JPMorgan is serving as financial adviser to the company. Financial advisers to the buyer include BofA Merrill Lynch, Citigroup and RBC Capital Markets, Dun & Bradstreet said.

The company has also released second-quarter earnings, saying it recorded net income of $93 million, or earnings per share of $2.50, on revenue of $439.6 million.

USA, Short Hills, NJ & New York, NY

Inspired Energy acquire Squareone Enterprises

inspired-logo3Inspired Energy has acquired Squareone Enterprises Limited in a deal worth up to in a £1.375 million. Squareone is a provider of energy procurement, energy management and water procurement services with a strong presence in the education and manufacturing sectors.

Inspired are paying £0.75 million in cash, plus an earn out of up to £0.625 million based on revenue targets for the 12 month periods ending 31 March 2019 and 2020.

In financial year ending March 2018, Squareone had revenues of £0.5 million, EBITDA of £0.25 million, and generated operating cash of £0.23 million. Net assets as at 31 March 2018 stood at £0.1 million.

Commenting on the acquisitions, Mark Dickinson, CEO of Inspired Energy said: “We are delighted to conclude the acquisition of Squareone, which is a highly complementary addition to Inspired’s core Corporate Division. The Squareone team are well respected within the sector, and were deservedly recognised as such at the 2018 Energy Live Consultancy Awards. The Acquisition further enhances our customer base and strengthens our sector specialisms.”

The business is based in Boldon, Tyne and Wear, close to the head office of Churchcom Limited, a company acquired by Inspired in April 2017. Michael Harkus, co-founder and Managing Director of Squareone, will remain with the Group after completion.

UK, Kirham, Lancashire & Boldon, Tyne and Wear

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Blackstone completes acquisition of PSAV

BlackstonePrivate equity and real estate funds managed by Blackstone have completed the acquisition of event experiences company PSAV. As part of the completed transaction, affiliates of Goldman Sachs will be reinvesting alongside Blackstone in the transaction to continue to participate in the ongoing growth of PSAV. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

PSAV is a global leader in event experiences, providing creative, production, advanced technology and staging services to help meeting planners deliver more dynamic and impactful experiences at their meetings, trade shows and special events. The team consists of more than 9,000 professionals across 1,500 on-site venue locations and 49 branch offices within the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Middle East. It was recently named to the Forbes 2018 America’s Best Employer list.

PSAV delivers on its purpose of connecting and inspiring people by creating impactful event experiences. Through its deep expertise in creative, production, advanced technology and staging services, PSAV is an invaluable partner to meeting and event planners. It is the trusted provider of choice at leading venues across the globe.

In June, the companies announced a definitive agreement for Blackstone to acquire PSAV from affiliates of Goldman Sachs and Olympus Partners.

USA, New York, NY & Schiller Park, IL

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Euromoney acquires price reporting business Random Lengths for $18.2M

Euromoney plcEuromoney Institutional Investor PLC has acquired Random Lengths, a price reporting agency for the global wood products industry.

Random Lengths provides unbiased and consistent price assessments and market reporting for the global wood products industry with a core focus on the North American lumber and panels markets, assessing and publishing over 1,500 prices per week. The acquisition strengthens Euromoney’s position in price reporting for the global forest products industry, following the acquisition of RISI in April 2017, which provides price reporting, analytics and industry events for the same sector.

Euromoney will pay $18.2 million in cash for Random Lengths, of which $2 million is deferred for up to 18 months. Pro forma EBITDA for the financial year 2018 is expected to be $1.1 million.

Random LengthsRaju Daswani, CEO of Euromoney’s PRA Division, said: “The acquisition of Random Lengths is an important step in our strategy to be a leading global cross-commodity PRA business for the markets we serve. Random Lengths has a strong reputation in North America and is complementary to our existing forest products business, established through the acquisition of RISI in 2017. By integrating these businesses alongside our metals & mining services, we will further establish our position as a global leader in the commodity price reporting industry. “

UK, London & USA, Eugene, OR

Exponent acquires Dennis Publishing

Exponent PEExponent is to acquire Dennis Publishing, a multi-platform international media group which owns several award-winning brands including its flagship title, The Week.

Initial reports from Sky News suggested Exponent could pay between £150m and £200m, with The Week alone valued at around £100m, although the final amount was unconfirmed.

Dennis is a leading consumer media and e-commerce organisation, based in London and New York. Its portfolio consists of over 30 brands across four main areas of focus: Current Affairs, Technology, Automotive and Special Interest. In addition to The Week, it is home to several well-known brands including MoneyWeek, The Week Junior, BuyACar.co.uk, Auto Express, CarBuyer, Computer Active, Alphr.com, Cyclist and Viz, among others. Across all its brands it reaches over 50 million readers and sells over 2.5 million magazines every month.

Dennis is the first investment to be made from Exponent’s fourth fund, Exponent Private Equity Partners IV, LP.

Commenting on the acquisition, David McGovern of Exponent, said, “Dennis is a unique, innovative and dynamic publishing and e-commerce business. We believe that there is a significant opportunity to grow both its print and digital platforms, which will allow it to reach and engage even more readers and customers. Exponent is delighted to back James Tye and his team. We look forward to combining their expert knowledge with our own deep experience in consumer media and e-commerce to help further develop Dennis’ strong market positions and build on Felix Dennis’ legacy.”

Dick Pountain, on behalf of the Executors of the Felix Dennis estate, said, “The Executors of Felix Dennis’ estate are delighted to agree the sale of Dennis Publishing to Exponent. We see Exponent as excellent partners for Dennis; their track record in media is extremely strong and we have confidence in their ability to continue to grow the size and reputation of the company that Felix created almost 50 years ago.

The proceeds of this sale go to the Heart of England Forest (HoEF), a charity which Felix established during his lifetime. This endowment will enable the charity to create Felix’s ambitious vision – planting and maintaining the largest contiguous, broadleaf woodland for public enjoyment that the UK has seen in a century. The sale ensures not just a bright future for all involved but will create a lasting and important legacy for future generations.”

UK, London

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Vitesse Media to buy InvestmentNews for $27.1M

Vitesse Media plcDigital media and events company Vitesse Media is to acquire InvestmentNews, a leading source of news, analysis and information to the financial advisory community from its parent, Crain Communications Inc., for approximately $27.1 million. The deal is expected to close mid-August.

As part of the deal, InvestmentNews’ leadership team will remain intact — as will its award-winning editorial, multimedia, audience, custom, research & data, marketing, sales and event divisions.

Crain launched InvestmentNews in 1997 as a weekly magazine covering the U.S. financial advice profession. InvestmentNews has since expanded its engagement with its core audience through the launch of an award-winning website, live events and research and data offerings. Today, InvestmentNews is the No. 1 media brand in the financial advice market, with more than 150,000 weekly print readers. InvestmentNews.com garners an average of 545,000 unique visitors each month. In addition, InvestmentNews operates a growing events business, which includes the Retirement Income Summit, Woman Adviser Summit and Best Practices Workshop. It is also produces editorial and custom research relevant to advisers and the businesses that serve them.

Simon Stilwell, who was appointed CEO of Vitesse in August 2017, said, “InvestmentNews is the leading brand in its community, it fits well into the Vitesse stable and provides the company with the opportunity to pursue other bolt on opportunities to expand, especially in its events and data business. Its American presence further allows us to expand our reach geographically, a key aspect of our future strategy.”

Upon completion of the deal, Vitesse will change its name to Bonhill Group plc, subject to shareholders’ approval.

UK, London & USA, New York, NY

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Mark Allen Group to acquire Rhinehold Group Assets

Mark Allen GroupThe Mark Allen Group has won the bid to acquire all the assets in the Rhinegold Group. These assets include the International Piano, Choir & Organ, Classical Music, Teaching Drama, and Music Teacher publications. Rhinegold also publishes Opera Now. Through its events arm it owns and organises Music & Drama Education Expos in London and Manchester. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The Rhinegold assets will add significantly to MAG’s strong position in music publishing, whose current portfolio includes the world’s leading classical music brand, Gramophone, as well as the premier magazines in their respective fields, Jazzwise and Songlines.

The parties are now entering into due diligence with the aim to complete the sale in October, after which the Rhinegold staff will be relocated from central London to MAG’s offices at St Jude’s Church in Herne Hill.

The origins of Rhinegold go back to 1977 with the launch of what is now Classical Music and the acquisition of Music Teacher. Since then the company has grown by acquisition and launch. Five years ago the first Music Education Expo was launched in London.

Mark Allen, the chairman of MAG, said, “I have been stalking Rhinegold for the past three years and I am delighted to say that my hope in acquiring these excellent assets looks like being realised. During this time, I have got to know, like and respect the current owner, Derek Smith, as well as several of the staff. There is a great deal of synergy with our own brands.”

Chief executive officer, Ben Allen added, “It is less than six years ago that we decided to enter the music market with our purchase of Jazzwise. This is a market in which we have done well and Rhinegold provides a golden opportunity for us to extend and enhance our dominant position. With increased leisure time likely to be a factor, music will loom even larger in people’s lives and we intend to be at the forefront of these trends.”

UK, London

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