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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GoCompare.com acquires energy switching specialist Energylinx for £10M

go-compare-logo-newGoCompare.com Group plc has acquired Energylinx for £10m in cash.

Energylinx is an energy comparison and switching specialist and has commercial relationships 69 domestic energy and 40 business energy suppliers. Customers include Which? and Citizens Advice Bureau. The company operates a white-label proposition, with around 200 active affiliates.

Matthew Crummack, CEO of GoCompare, said: “We are pleased to announce this acquisition, which marks yet another significant milestone for the Group as we continue to build services that work for both our customers and partners. Energylinx has an excellent reputation in the industry among energy suppliers and those who use its white-label services, and we will leverage our strong brand, tech and product capabilities to expand its reach and impact to help save even more people time and money.

Energylinx is headquartered in Alloa, Scotland and employs a team of 20 staff. Following completion, Ken Geddes, founder and CEO will join the Group.

UK, Wales, Newport & UK, Scotland, Alloa

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Bridgepoint Development Capital to acquire Private Equity International

BridgepointBridgepoint Development Capital is to acquire a majority stake in PEI Media – the global provider of insight, market-data and business conferences for professionals active in alternative asset class investment. Details of the transaction were not disclosed. The business is being acquired from its founders, management and minority shareholder, LDC.

PEI Media focuses on private investment markets in real estate, infrastructure, private equity, and private debt – including specialist sector-specific activities within those private asset markets. The group has developed deep connections with international sources of alternative investment capital since its inception in 2001. Clients served include public sector and company pension plans, insurance groups, endowments and family offices – as well as leading private-asset fund managers who raise and deploy capital raise from institutional investors.

PEI was formed following a management buyout from Euromoney Institutional Investor plc. It has grown a diversified portfolio of alternative asset-focused publications, databases and branded events. Headquartered in London with offices in Hong Kong and New York, the company currently employs around 180 people and has clients based in over 80 countries. The company’s publications include PERE, Infrastructure Investor, Private Debt Investor, Private Equity International, Real Estate Capital, Private Funds Management, Agri Investor and Secondaries Investor, amongst others.

BDC Partner Robin Lawson said, “PEI is recognised for its differentiated insight into the worlds of multiple alternative asset classes. As investors look for higher yields, continued inflows into these classes means that there is growing demand for the information, analysis and event-networking opportunities of providers like PEI. Today’s investment by BDC will support the continued international expansion of the business as well as further development of its technology platform and digital product set. Our aim in working with PEI’s management will be to ensure that it remains best-placed to scale its digital offering in a growing market and deliver progressive evolution of its specialist-brand in line with advancing client needs. In this way, we expect that increasingly sophisticated customers, both existing and new, will remain able to access the information and market connections they increasingly need to be successful in their global alternative investment strategies.”

UK, London

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AgriBriefing rumoured to be up for sale

AgriBriefingBetaville is reporting that agribusiness media, price reporting and intelligence company AgriBriefing is about to be sold by its private equity owners, Lyceum Capital.

AgriBriefing creates and sells prices for eggs, red meat and animal feed and publishes the Farmers Guardian. The company also runs Britain’s largest farm machinery and equipment show – Lamma.

Reports suggest that Lyceum is unlikely to begin a sale process until later this year or early 2019 as it has just appointed Raymond James to carry out a strategic review.

UK, London

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Hg makes strategic investment in Financial Express

Hg Capital plcHg, the manager of HgCapital Trust plc, is to make a significant investment in Financial Express, a leading data, analytics and software vendor focussed on the UK and Australian retail investment funds markets. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. HgCapital Trust plc will invest approximately £7.5 million in FE, with other institutional clients of Hg investing alongside the Company through the Mercury 2 Fund.

Based on the 30 April 2018 NAV, the company’s liquid resources available for future deployment, including all announced transactions, are estimated to be £145 million (20% of the 30 April 2018 pro forma NAV of £712.8 million). In addition, the company has access to an £80 million standby facility, which is currently undrawn. The investment will reduce the company’s outstanding commitments to invest in Hg transactions over the next four to five years to approximately £587 million.

Founded by Michael Holland and Craig Wilson, FE is a leading provider of investment data, research and software to the financial services industry in the UK and operates a proprietary database of complete retail funds data with global coverage and history, built up over 20 years. Trusted by investors, advisers, asset managers and platforms who use FE data, software and investment advice every day, FE is a leading player in supporting the UK fund industry.

The investment will be made from the Mercury 2 Fund. FE has a number of business characteristics that Hg looks for, including a strong position in the wealth / asset management software and data sector, a well-recognised brand, mission-critical products, and a strong management team led by Neil Bradford.

The investment comes on the back of significant expansion of FE’s global operations and product offering over the past few years, and another year of record growth for the company in 2017.

Sebastien Briens, Partner at Hg, said: ‘We have been following FE for a number of years, and have been impressed by the strength and depth of its data, products, team and vision. We are very pleased to partner with Michael, Craig and Neil in the next stage of growth for the business.’

Neil Bradford, CEO at FE, said: ‘Hg’s track record and experience in our sector means they are the perfect partner to continue FE’s growth strategy and international expansion ambitions. We look forward to working with the Hg team.’

Michael Holland, co founder of FE, said: ‘Data is at the foundation of everything we do and Hg has a deep understanding of the fund data space. I am confident that this partnership will hugely benefit our clients.’

UK, London

Freeman acquires Info Salons

FreemanBrand experience company Freeman has acquired digital technology company Info Salons, a leading provider of registration and attendee database management solutions. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

With the acquisition, Freeman will benefit from Info Salons’ nearly 30 years of experience in the industry and its event technology solutions which aim to improve online and on-site registration processes and unlock attendee data and sales leads for show organizers. Going forward, Info Salons applications and tools will be fully integrated into the digital solutions offered by Freeman.

Richard Maranville, chief digital officer at Freeman, said, “We’re always looking for ways to simplify the event and show planning processes for our clients; and investing in leading digital technologies enables us to provide the robust capabilities show organizers need to thrive in the ever-evolving events industry. With the integration of Info Salons’ digital tools into our event management offerings, we’ll be better equipped to help our clients get the most out of their attendee data.”

USA, Dallas, TX & Australia, Surry Hills