IHS Markit and Informa exchange business units

IHS MarkitFinancial data company IHS Markit and Informa, the international exhibitions, events, information services and scholarly research group, have exchanged the majority of the IHS Markit Technology, Media and Telecoms intelligence business for Informa’s Agribusiness Intelligence Informa plcgroup.

The agreement values the two exchanged businesses at equivalent EBITDA multiples, with Informa contributing an additional $30 million cash to IHS Markit to reflect the larger EBITDA contribution from the TMT business. IHS Markit will retain RootMetrics, its benchmarking business and a portion of its market intelligence business. Both transactions are expected to close in July 2019 and are subject to customary closing conditions, including US regulatory approval.

IHS Markit confirmed that the transaction will not affect its capital allocation strategy to delever its debt ratio below 3.0x and complete USD 500 million in share repurchases in 2019.

Lance Uggla, CEO of IHS Markit said, “The Informa Agribusiness Intelligence portfolio is a clear extension of our Chemical and Downstream businesses and builds our existing data, pricing, insights, forecasting and news services within our Resources segment. Agriculture is the largest end chemical market in the world and this transaction expands our capabilities into fertilizers and chemical crop protection, while substantively expanding our capabilities in biofuels.”

UK, London

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ION Investment Group to acquire a controlling stake in Acuris

AcurisION Investment Group is acquiring a controlling stake in Acuris, a global provider of proprietary financial intelligence, data and analytics, from BC Partners and GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed. However, the FT quoting “three people with direct knowledge of the deal” describe it as a £1.35bn deal. BC Partners and Acuris management are reinvesting and will retain minority ownership.

The Company, then named Mergermarket, was founded in 1999 and acquired by Pearson in 2006 for £101 million plus a subsequent earn-out. In 2015 Mergermarket was acquired by BC Partners from Pearson plc for £382 million. GIC acquired a 30% stake from BC Partners on 2017.

Previous reporting

With nearly 1,500 employees in 66 different locations worldwide, Acuris provides proprietary insights and analytics across six key financial areas: fixed income, transactions, equities, compliance, infrastructure and research. Acuris’ differentiated content and products, including Mergermarket, Debtwire and several others.

Andrea Pignataro, ION’s CEO and Founder said “Acuris’ leading position in financial intelligence, data and analytics is highly complementary to ION’s business. Together, ION and Acuris will continue to deliver innovative, differentiated intelligence and solutions to financial institutions and corporations. We are looking forward to partnering with BC Partners to support the company’s growth and development.”

UK, London

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DVV to acquire Centaur’s HR portfolio for £5M

DVV Media InternationalDVV Media International Ltd is to acquire Centaur Human Resources Ltd from Centaur Media PLC for £5 million. The deal is expected to complete at the end of April.

The sale of the HR business follows the recent disposals of Centaur’s financial services business, including brands such as Money Marketing and Mortgage Strategy, and its travel and meetings exhibitions, including the Business Travel Show and the Meetings Show, which will raise in aggregate £14.25 million. The company announcement reported that negotiations for the sale of other businesses are continuing.

centaur-logoThe portfolio of products includes the website and exhibition covering the employee rewards and benefits sector, Employee Benefits; along with the Forum for Expatriate Management, a service for companies with overseas employees.

“This is a very significant acquisition for our business,” said DVV Media International Managing Director Andy Salter. “Building on the strength of our existing Personnel Today brand, the new additions to the portfolio substantially increase our offering to the HR and recruiter services sector. Both Employee Benefits and the Forum for Expatriate Management have a powerful reputation. This is a perfect fit and we are looking forward to working with the new teams to develop our portfolio further.”

The Centaur HR portfolio consists of the following brands and activities:

  • EmployeeBenefits.co.uk: Digital resource for the UK’s reward and benefits industry, supplying news, analysis and research.
  • Employee Benefits Live: Dedicated reward and benefits exhibition with around 2000 visitors and 100 exhibitors and a comprehensive conference programme.
  • Employee Benefits Connect: Conference for senior reward and benefits decision makers.
  • Forum for Expatriate Management: Worldwide community for global mobility professionals. FEM serves the sector through 3 Confex and Awards events (US, APAC, EMEA), a European Confex, research reports, and through the provision of information and news online.

DVV’s current HR brands and events include Personnel Today, Personnel Today Awards, Personnel Today Jobs, Occupational Health & Wellbeing, WhatMedia and the RAD Awards.

All staff currently employed at Centaur Human Resources are expected to remain with the business and the company will remain in central London at DVV’s office there.

UK, Sutton & London

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DVV Media International

Centaur Media

Simplify Compliance completes sale of Argosy Group

Simplify ComplianceSimplify Compliance, a Leeds Equity Partners portfolio company, has completed the sale of Argosy Group. The transaction resulted from a strategic decision to further hone the parent company’s focus on its core markets: human capital management, healthcare, environmental health and safety, and communications. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The Argosy Group includes a suite of trusted brands that date back more than 50 years, providing a diverse line of award-winning business publications, databases, conferences, online information services, and resource directories for financial services professionals, regulators, lawyers, accountants, and vendors.

The sale of Argosy Group is consistent with Simplify Compliance’s corporate strategy which focuses on the high-growth areas of corporate training, data, and tech-enabled solutions. “We see this sale as an opportunity to allocate resources and pursue investments that align with our strategic vision,” said Simplify Compliance CEO Dan Oswald. “To that end, we’ll continue to invest in new product development and explore acquisitions that expand and strengthen our product portfolio.”

PEI MediaThe buyer, PEI Media Group, is a UK-based global B2B information group focused on private equity, private real estate, private debt, infrastructure and agri investing. “The Argosy Group has been the go-to provider for information for private equity and venture capital executives for decades, the team has done an excellent job growing their market and evolving their products to better serve the community,” says Scott VanHoy, partner with Leeds Equity. “We believe there is a great strategic fit between PEI and Argosy in continuing to provide compelling information and intelligence to their customers.”

USA, Brentwood, TN & New York, NY

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Bonhill Group to acquire Last Word Media for up to £10M

BonhillB2B media business Bonhill Group is to acquire Last Word MediaBonhill will pay an initial consideration of £8.0 million, £6.0 million in cash and £2.0 million through a share issue. A deferred payment of £2 million will be made dependent on the financial performance of Last Word during the years ending 31 December 2019 and 31 December 2020.

Last WordLast Word is an international B2B media business addressing the sales and marketing needs of the global asset management industry and information requirements of the wealth management industry.

Launched in 2005, Last Word is owned by its three founders Rod Boulogne, Jamie Hinchliffe and Dylan Emery, and the co-founder of its Asian operation, Tom Porter. Last Word has 71 staff based in its London head office with another 8 staff in Hong Kong and 3 staff in Singapore.

The business creates content, sales and marketing opportunities, networking events and transactional opportunities for its clients and audiences with the key objective to assist asset managers with increasing assets under management.

Last Word currently operates seven investor facing brands. These include seven news and information websites, two of which have associated print titles and, in 2018, the brands collectively hosted 86 scheduled live events. Last Word also operates a further three brands targeting asset managers with event services, content marketing solutions and research data products.

Last Word has approximately 190 clients, including Aberdeen Standard Investments, Allianz Global Investors, BNY Mellon Investment Management, Hermes Investments, Invesco, Janus Henderson, Jupiter Investments, Merian Global Investors, Schroders and T. Rowe Price.

In the year ended 31 December 2018, Last Word generated revenue of approximately £10.2 million (2017: £9.2 million) and had EBITDA of approximately £1.1 million (2017: £0.3 million). As at 31 December 2018, Last Word had consolidated net assets of approximately £1.42 million (2017: £0.78 million).

In the year ended 31 December 2018, 71 per cent. of total revenues were generated in the UK, 16 per cent. in Asia, 8 per cent. in Europe and the balance in the rest of the world. Of total revenues generated in the year ended 31 December 2018, Live Events accounted for 59 per cent., Business Information accounted for 26 per cent. and Data & Insight and content marketing together for 15 per cent

Simon Stilwell, Chief Executive of Bonhill, commented:

“We are pleased to announce the acquisition of Last Word, a leading international B2B media business servicing the global asset management sector.  Bringing our two businesses together will enable Bonhill to provide a truly global sales and marketing proposition to the international asset management community and provides the opportunity to leverage InvestmentNews’ presence and platform to expand its existing propositions in the US. These are exciting times for the Company and we look forward to the period ahead.”

UK, London

Centaur Media Plc sells financial services division to Metropolis

centaur-logoCentaur Media has sold its financial services division to Metropolis Group for £5 million.

The disposal follows Centaur’s decision last October to explore the divestment of its smaller businesses in order to simplify the Group’s structure and to focus management resources on its leading brands.

Metropolis has paid £5 million in cash for the division sold. Centaur will consider the best use for the proceeds following the completion of its divestment review.

Centaur’s financial services division comprises a portfolio of leading multi-channel publishing and content brands, including Money Marketing, Mortgage Strategy, Platforum, Taxbriefs and Headline Money. These brands generate advertising and other revenue by serving a range of audience segments within the financial services industry, including financial advisers, mortgage brokers, accountants and asset managers.

Andria Vidler, Chief Executive of Centaur, said, “This disposal continues the simplification of Centaur, further reducing our advertising exposure and allowing us to focus on developing products and services with stronger recurring revenues. A simpler group structure will allow us to deliver efficiencies and other operational benefits.

“Our financial services portfolio which includes Money Marketing has played a key role in the development of Centaur over the years, and I want to thank the teams for all their hard work. I am pleased that Metropolis sees the potential to develop the business further.”

Robert Marr, Chief Executive of Metropolis Group, added, “The acquisition continues the development of Metropolis and aligns with our vision of delivering sustainable profitable futures for well-managed media brands. We look forward to working together with the financial services team to further develop these long-standing market-leading brands.”

For the year ended 31 December 2018, Centaur’s financial services business made an adjusted operating profit of £1.2m, up from £0.6m in 2017, on revenues of £8.2m (2017: £8.9m). At 31 December 2018, the business had gross assets of £2.3m.

UK, London

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Acuris acquires Blackpeak

AcurisAcuris, a BC Partners and GIC-backed provider of financial data, intelligence, research and analysis, has acquired Blackpeak, an investigative research firm. Blackpeak will join Acuris’ Compliance division. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Co-founded by Jack Clode and Chris Leahy in 2011, Blackpeak is a premier provider of complex due diligence, research and investigation services, particularly in relation to capital markets, M&A and private equity.

Headquartered in Hong Kong, Blackpeak now operates from key financial and economic centers, including Singapore, Tokyo, Shanghai, Beijing, New York and Washington DC.

Hamilton Matthews

Hamilton Matthews CEO, Acuris

“We are delighted to welcome Jack, Chris and the Blackpeak team to the growing Acuris family. With its expert capabilities as a premium Enhanced Due Diligence services provider and impressive customer portfolio of global blue-chip customers, Blackpeak will enhance our Compliance division’s proposition considerably,” says Hamilton Matthews, CEO of Acuris. “We look forward to working together to support Blackpeak’s growth ambitions and meet the evolving demands of our customers.”

UK, London & Hong Kong

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