A Fusion deal: Worldwide Legal Research sold to Law Business Research

Worldwide Legal Research, trading as LegalMonitor, a research company headquartered in London, has been sold to Law Business Research Ltd, a portfolio company of Levine Leichtman Capital Partners VI, LP (LLCP). Fusion Corporate Partners acted as corporate advisor for Worldwide Legal Research. The Fusion team was led by Paul Slight, Director at Fusion. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Law Business Research (LBR) is a technology-enabled information services business powering the global legal industry with intelligence, analytics and performance data.  LegalMonitor is the most accurate database of over 260,000 lawyers, incorporating artificial intelligence, advanced search and visual analytics.

David Kekwick, Executive Director of LegalMonitor, noted, “The combination of our data platform and LBR is an exciting one. LBR brings access to the operational tools and experience we need to scale plus significant marketplace access. We will be able to accelerate investment in our platform and ensure ongoing product evolution.”

Paul Slight commented, “This is second time round for David Kekwick and Fusion having previously worked on the sale of David’s first business to Wilmington circa 10 years ago. The fit with Law Business Research in this instance is clear and will only enhance Legal Monitor’s market leading products for legal recruiters globally.”

Nick Brailey, CEO of Law Business Research, said, “Law Business Research and LegalMonitor both provide data-driven, technology-enabled, subscription platforms that naturally complement each other. LegalMonitor brings a significant database, insight into the global legal market and additional technology capabilities. Our combined research will map the known universe of lawyers and tie together datasets to fulfil more use cases. This will benefit our entire portfolio of client solutions and represents a continuation of our strategy of delivering technology-enabled content by adding a highly relevant data asset to our business. I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome the Legal Monitor team to LBR and I look forward to seeing what we can achieve together”.

UK, London

Informa to divest Pharma Intelligence for £1.9bn

Informa, the international B2B markets, knowledge services and business intelligence group has agreed to divest Pharma Intelligence, the largest business within its Informa Intelligence division, to Warburg Pincus for £1.9bn, while separately commencing a share buyback.

Pharma Intelligence is a provider of specialist intelligence and data for Clinical Trials, Drug Development and Regulatory Compliance. In 2020, this business accounted for approximately 40% of Informa Intelligence reported divisional revenues of £305m and c.50% of reported divisional adjusted operating profit of £103m.

The last reported Profit Before Tax of Pharma Intelligence was £55.3m for the year ended 31 December 2020 and the last statement of Gross Assets was £479.9m, as at 30 June 2021.

The agreement with Warburg Pincus, values Pharma Intelligence at £1.9bn, equating to an EV/EBITDA multiple based on 2020 reported figures or 2021 expected outcomes.

Under the agreement, 85% of equity value will be realised immediately, equating to c.£1.7bn in cash, pre-tax, with Informa retaining a c.15% shareholding in the business going forward. This c.15% equity interest ranks pari passu with Warburg Pincus’ equity and includes customary rights in the event of a sale of the business.

The sale is expected to complete by early June subject to relevant regulatory clearances.

Adarsh Sarma, Co-Head of Europe, Warburg Pincus LLC said:

“We are delighted to be the partner of choice for Informa and to have the opportunity to acquire Pharma Intelligence with its operating management team. Pharma Intelligence plays a critical role in supporting and maintaining the ecosystem that surrounds clinical trials, drug development and regulatory compliance, and we intend to invest and significantly grow the business and its product offerings. We are also pleased to be working again with Jay Nadler, who we worked with at MLM Information Services and Interactive Data Corp and he was previously CEO of Clarivate. He will also be joining the Board of the newly separated company.”

Stephen A. Carter, Group Chief Executive, Informa PLC, commented:

“We received significant interest in the Pharma Intelligence business. We are delighted to partner with Warburg Pincus and share their view on its future growth potential, hence, we welcomed an agreement that represented value today and growth and value tomorrow.”

Share Buyback Programme

The group has previously announced its intention to return a proportion of the proceeds from the divestment of Informa Intelligence to shareholders. Following the sale agreement for the Pharma Intelligence business, Informa has entered into an arrangement with its broker, Merrill Lynch International (BofA Securities), to purchase on its behalf and within certain pre-set parameters, ordinary shares of 0.1 pence each in the Company, with the intention to cancel those shares purchased.

The programme will commence with immediate effect and run through to the AGM in June, including through the Company’s close period (30 days from 13 February to 14 March 2022). The maximum amount allocated to the initial tranche of the buyback programme will be £100m. The share buyback programme will take place in accordance with the Company’s current approved buyback authorities and be effected in accordance with Chapter 12 of the FCA’s Listing Rules. The maximum number of ordinary shares that may be repurchased under those authorities is 150,311,000.

Trading Update

Informa will report its 2021 Full Year Results on 15 March 2022. Ahead of this, Group has reported that it expects to report trading in 2021 in line with guidance of £1.8bn± Group Revenue and £375m± of Adjusted Operating Profit. Free cash flow is expected to be ahead of previous guidance of £325m+.

UK, London

Pendo acquires product management community Mind the Product

Software business Pendo has acquired Mind the Product, a product management community which provides content, training and conferences that serve a global audience of more than 300,000 product managers, designers and developers. 

“This is a tremendous day for our community of product managers around the world,” said James Mayes, CEO and co-founder of Mind the Product. “By joining Pendo, we can execute on today’s mission and think even bigger about how we will support, educate and train product teams in the future.”

Mind the Product began as a passion project for its founders in 2010. As technology startups emerged around London, with product managers playing a leading role in those companies, the team hosted its first meetup, dubbed ProductTank, in the back of a local pub. Word spread as technology ecosystems emerged in other cities too, and the group responded by partnering with local organizers to host ProductTanks around the globe. Now with a full-time team of nearly 20, all of whom will join Pendo, the London-based company provides a series of global conferences, custom product training and workshops, a popular blog and newsletter, and a subscription offering with more than 3,000 members. It also supports ProductTank meetups in more than 200 global cities and oversees the largest Slack community for product people. 

Pendo intends to keep the Mind the Product team in place to manage its conferences, content, events, and meetups, and to continue its vendor-neutral workshops and training. The acquisition supports Pendo’s goal to provide the most complete platform for product-led companies — Pendo’s software products paired with content, training and community enable companies to become product led. 

“Pendo has always made it part of our mission to elevate the craft of product management and to help product managers be better at what they do,” said Todd Olson, CEO and co-founder of Pendo. “We’re really excited to join forces with some of our earliest influencers, and offer substantially more education and resources to the global product management community for years to come.” 

Mind the Product is Pendo’s third international acquisition in five years. In 2017, Pendo acquired Insert, a mobile app engagement solution based in Israel, and in 2019, it acquired Receptive Software Limited, a UK-based product demand intelligence platform. Pendo has scaled its international operations to more than 160 people, adding nearly 100 employees in the United Kingdom, Israel, Japan and Australia in 2021. Those teams support more than 300 customers in EMEA regions and 60 customers across Asia. Mind the Product adds to the company’s global footprint both through headcount and reach. 

USA, Raleigh, NC and UK, London

RX acquires 3rd Street Group, organisers of Big Data LDN

RX (formerly Reed Exhibitions) has acquired 3rd Street Group Ltd, the owners and organisers of Big Data LDN.

Big Data LDN is one of the UK’s largest data and analytics conferences and exhibitions, hosting leading data, analytics experts and suppliers. The event brings together the data and analytics community in a unique exhibition format for the sector, including a superior, end user-led conference programme. The event takes place in the autumn at Olympia.

Big Data LDN will join the RX portfolio in the UK, with founder Bill Hammond remaining as its event director. 

Announcing the acquisition, Hugh Jones, RX CEO, said: “Despite the impact that the pandemic has had on the events industry, we continue our longstanding tradition of acquiring key events in growth sectors and markets. Big Data LDN is a perfect fit for our portfolio, and I am delighted that Bill and his team will be joining RX to develop Big Data LDN even further. Their professionalism, knowledge and dedication are astonishing, and I’m excited to work with them to grow this event in the coming years.” 

Bill Hammond, founder of 3rd Street Group Ltd, said: “The global big data and business analytics sector continues to grow in the UK. Joining RX will enable us to build the event exponentially with support from RX’s suite of technology platforms, global network and operations expertise. A key issue within big data remains security and privacy and I look forward to working with RX UK’s existing Infosecurity brand to deliver even more value to our customers across the data and analytics sector. It’s going to be an exciting growth period for us and we can’t wait to get started.”

UK, London

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With Intelligence (Pageant Media) – multiple acquisitions since February 2020

In February 2020, Intermediate Capital Group took majority control of the UK’s Pageant Media for a reported £106.5 million in a deal which is believed to have valued the company at £145m. It was the first investment by ICG’s Europe Mid-Market Fund, which closed in late 2019 at €1 billion

Pageant Media, now rebranded as With Intelligence, was privately owned by its CEO Charlie Kerr, who founded the business in 1998. The company’s business model at the time of IMG’s investment included a membership programme in which financial professionals pay an annual fee to receive news, information, and data, and attend invitation-only events. The company organised around 200 events per year and had reported £32 million in revenues in 2019. It had more than 2,500 institutional clients worldwide and had 240 people across its offices in London, New York, Hong Kong, and Cardiff.

Since then, Pageant Media has gone on to make a number of acquisitions, including:

  1. May 2020 – Eurekahedge from the Mizuho Bank, of Japan. Based in Hong Kong, Eurekahedge had annual revenues of $5 million and an operating profit of around $1 million. The company, which was founded in 2001, offers a database of information on hedge funds and offers the Eurekahedge fund indices.
  2. November 2020 – Falk Marques Group (now rebranded With Intelligence) acquired from Beth Falk and Raul Marqués who jointly founded the business in 2006. Falk Marques Group produces conferences and networking forums that are focused on advancing women in the private equity, venture capital and alternative investment communities. It launched the Women’s Private Equity Summit in 2008 and its sister event, the Women’s Alternative Investment Summit in 2009. Falk Marques Group had around $4 million revenue. Pageant Media are reported to have made an initial payment of $4 million. This to be followed by an earn-out which may eventually value the business at $20 million.
  3. June 2021 – the acquisition of Pension Funds Online. The business organises up-to-date financial and contact information for pension funds, in the UK and Europe, through a modern, searchable digital interface. First produced in print form in 1978, as the so-called Blue and Red Books, the online database is today used by asset managers, investment consultants and other service providers to drive their investor outreach strategies.
  4. June 2021 – Hedge Fund Alert acquired from Green Street. Hedge Fund Alert is read by hedge funds, prime brokers, and other service providers to get the earliest look at key dealings and intelligence in the hedge fund arena. The U.S.-based publication now sits alongside HFM and Eurekahedge.
  5. August 2021 – UK-based Savvy Investor from its owner Andrew Perrins for a reported £6 million initial payment and a further £2 million based on performance targets. Savvy Media is a knowledge network for institutional investors, providing members with access to a deep resource of white papers and articles covering global investment and pensions issues. It had £2 million in revenue and £800k EBITDA.

With Intelligence is now a global business information organisation, focused on the asset management industry. Now with over 450 people in seven offices across three continents, the product portfolio includes data, insight and events, and has grown to cover hedge funds, private equity, real estate, private debt, and traditional asset management, with more than 3,000 institutional customers worldwide.

UK, London

Emerald Holdings acquired MJBiz

Emerald Holding has acquired MJBiz, the event producer and content platform serving the wide range of companies operating in the cannabis industry. Emerald paid $120 million as initial consideration upon closing of the transaction, with potential future payments contingent on the performance of MJBiz through 2022.

Founded in 2011, MJBiz produces MJBizCon, the oldest and leading B2B cannabis trade show in America, the Emerald Conference and related media brands including MJBizDaily, Hemp Industry Daily and MJBiz Magazine.

In 2021, MJBiz’s revenues were approximately $27 million, which were near pre-pandemic levels. MJBizCon featured more than 1,200 exhibiting companies and 27,000 attendees, including over 18,000 paid registrations, at the October 2021 event.

The MJBiz platform delivered 38% compound annual revenue growth in the three years prior to the pandemic (2017-2019). In addition to operating the cannabis industry trade show, the MJBiz brand is a source for actionable business intelligence in the cannabis industry.

MJBiz management, including CEO Chris Walsh, Senior Vice President of Events and Sales, Jess Tyler, and Senior Vice President of Content and Audience Development, Pam Moore, will continue to lead the day-to-day operations of the business. MJBiz co-founders and Board members, Cassandra Farrington and Anne Holland, will continue to consult with the business.

Hervé Sedky, Emerald’s President and CEO, said, “We have long admired MJBiz’s sterling reputation for being the most trusted event and content producer serving the business side of the cannabis and hemp industries and their respective participants. MJBiz’s leading event and content portfolio coupled with their 365-day engagement platform, which connects the entire cannabis supply chain, will diversify our collective product offerings, enhance our growth profile and enable us to deliver even greater value to our customers over the long term.”

USA, San Juan Capistrano, CA & Lakewood, CO

Claverley Group acquires HPCi Media

Claverley Group has acquired HPCi Media. The deal was announced in the Cleverly Group owned Express and Star. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

London based HPCi Media focuses on the beauty, wellness and health industries with titles such as Cosmetics Business and Pure Beauty.

Claverley Group chief executive Phil Inman said: “We are delighted to have concluded the acquisition of HPCi Media. The business benefits from a loyal customer base and has enjoyed year on year revenue growth for a number of years. We look forward to working with the current team to support further growth and development.”

Wolverhampton-based Claverley Group is an independently-owned specialist media group which includes The Express & Star, Shropshire Star and MNA Digital. It is the third acquisition by the Claverley Group since 2018. The previous two were the acquisitions of children’s magazine publisher Kennedy and creative design and print management business Cubiquity.

Read the Express and Star story here.

UK, Wolverhampton & London

GlobalData acquires LMC Automotive

GlobalData Plc has acquired LMCA Holdings Limited and LMCI Holdings Limited, which provide data, analytics, and insights of the Automotive and Agribusiness markets respectively. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

LMC Automotive is best known for its automotive markets forecast services, which extend to global databases of sales and production down to make, model and engine detail. LMC Automotive also runs industry conferences.

LMC International is an independent economic consulting firm specialising in global agricultural commodity and agribusiness sectors.

The acquisitions, follow on from the Life Sciences acquisition earlier this year and will be funded through existing facilities.

Commenting on the acquisitions Mike Danson, Chief Executive Officer, said: “The Automotive and Agribusiness acquisitions represent strategic bolt-ons and the high quality gold standard content adds depth and further breadth to our intelligence offering. Our confidence in the success of these additions, as well as future M&A, is underpinned by the advantage of our One Platform model. It provides multiple levers for realizing synergies, as well as the ability to enhance product capabilities. The additions allow us to demonstrate the capability of our platform to new clients, as well as leveraging the operating efficiencies of scale.”

Uk, London

LabX Media Group acquires G2 Intelligence from Plain Language Media

B2B science media company LabX Media Group has acquired the information services and event assets of G2 Intelligence from Plain Language Media LLLP. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Plain Language Media has retained The Licensing Letter, The Licensing Sourcebook and Licensing Deals & Data, plus its Medical Office Manager and Law Office Manager franchises.

In a statement this week, LabX Media Group CEO Bob Kafato said: “We are excited to formally announce a new addition to the LMG family, G2 Intelligence. G2 Intelligence is a digital content news platform that provides timely, accurate analysis of legal and regulatory news that directly affects the laboratory environment. The brand has a successful 30-year history of providing the diagnostic lab industry with print and digital newsletters, online information services, special reports, and live events. Above all else, G2 Intelligence aligns with our mission of helping scientists make the world better and is a fantastic fit for LabX Media Group, so we are thrilled to have them join our talented team.”

Canada, Ontario and Canada, British Columbia & USA, New London, CT & UK, London

A Fusion Deal: Uniquest sold to Keystone Education Group

UniQuest, a UK-based student engagement, conversion, and retention service, has been sold to the Keystone Education Group. Fusion Corporate Partners acted as corporate advisor to Uniquest. The Fusion team was led by Paul Slight, Director at Fusion. The terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Founded in 2013, UniQuest is led by co-founder & Chair Natalie Letcher and co-founder and CEO Rachel Fletcher, who will continue to oversee daily operations alongside Keystone’s executive leadership team. 

“With so much noise in the higher education sector for our university colleagues to deal with, not to mention growing student demand and increased student expectations, we provide confidence to our partners in what they’re doing despite all this change. We bring our focused and deep expertise in student engagement to Keystone. Combined with their impressive global footprint and student reach, together we will be able to help more universities around the world reach their student recruitment goals, delivering unparalleled student support,” said Rachel Fletcher, CEO of UniQuest.

“The combination of our business with Keystone will help accelerate our ability to innovate and adapt to changing market conditions. Together, we are even more well-positioned to help institutions remain competitive by enabling them to provide best-in-class, flexible support to prospective and current students,” Fletcher said.

“Combining UniQuest’s operations with Keystone’s recruitment services will enable us to offer extremely robust student recruitment, enrollment, and retention services to our 5 500 customer base, across our key geographic markets, including the US, the UK, and continental Europe,” said Erik Harrell, Keystone’s CEO.

“With the acquisition of UniQuest, we will be able to help our customers face their enrollment challenges head-on and gain an edge over their competition with the help of our end-to-end global student recruitment, enrollment, and retention services,” Harrell said.

“We are committed to serving as a strategic partner for our customers, acting more as an extension of their own recruitment and admissions teams than the traditional agency or third-party vendor models. For students, our extensive counseling services will ensure their journey to the classroom is as painless and informed as possible, helping them every step along the way.”

“This is a game-changer in the student counseling and recruitment space, presenting a unique opportunity for Keystone to disrupt and innovate the existing traditional counseling and agency model that has prevailed for years,” he said. 

“We will also be able to harness our combined data and insights from over millions of students every year to provide enhanced predictive modeling and forecasting to our customer base, making improvements along the entire recruitment value chain.” 

The deal comes at a time when institutions are facing growing enrollment challenges, from the impact of falling US domestic enrollments on US universities to the impact of Brexit on EU student applications to UK universities, all amidst a backdrop of ever-increasing global competition for student enrollments. 

The deal is the latest acquisition amid a flurry of organizational growth for the Keystone Education Group in 2021, and follows Keystone’s recent merger with EMG and acquisitions of FindAUniversity, College Scholarships USA (CSUSA), and AGM Education. 

Oslo, Norway & London, UK