Bowmark Capital backs buy-out of IWSR

Bowmark Capital, the mid-market private equity firm, has backed the buy-out of IWSR, a source of data and intelligence for the $1.5 trillion alcoholic beverage market, from FPE Capital. The terms of the transaction are not disclosed and the buy-out includes a re-investment by the IWSR management team..

IWSR’s database tracks consumption trends across 30,000 brands and 157 countries.  The company has over 200 blue chip customers representing all the major market participants including producers, ingredient manufacturers, investment banks and consultancies. The company’s data and insights help its customers understand channel, distribution and sales trends in all their core markets.

In the just under three years of FPE’s ownership IWSR increased revenues by 110% and increased EBITDA by 160%. It is the first exit for FPE from its second, spin-out fund which closed in 2017. The company also recently completed the acquisition of Wine Intelligence, broadening its coverage of the wine sector.

Bowmark investment director Tom Elliott said: “We have tracked IWSR for several years and have been impressed by the evolution of the business under the leadership of Mark and his team.  The business continues to capitalise on its unique position in a complex marketplace and has an exciting pipeline of new products to deliver additional value to its customers.  We are delighted to be backing the company in its next stage of growth.”

Mark Meek, CEO of IWSR, commented: “I am delighted with the progress the business has made in the last few years.  We are an ambitious team and are keen to work with Bowmark to continue to grow IWSR and expand the product portfolio and customer value proposition.  As we got to know Bowmark, it became clear that they really understand our sector and can help us accelerate our growth.”

UK, London

CB Insights acquires VentureSource data from Dow Jones

CB Insights has acquired the data assets of VentureSource, a comprehensive portfolio relating to venture capital markets, from Dow Jones

The VentureSource database provides detailed and comprehensive data on venture-backed companies – including their investors and executives – in every region, industry, and stage of development throughout the world. This data helps customers find deal and partnership opportunities, perform comprehensive due diligence, and examine trends in venture capital investment, fundraising, and liquidity. 

The acquisition expands CB Insights’ private company data with data going back to 1983, including:

  • Private company valuations 
  • Management team information 
  • Data on deal service providers, including law firms and investment banks 

With the addition of the VentureSource database, CB Insights strengthens its position as a leader in emerging technology information and private market data.  

“Having the deepest and most complete data on emerging technology companies and technology markets is what our clients rely on CB Insights for, and the acquisition of the VentureSource database from Dow Jones furthers that mission,” said Anand Sanwal, CEO and co-founder of CB Insights. “Whether our clients are looking for technology vendors, partners, M&A targets and/or investments, they are now better equipped to discover and understand these companies and tech markets with the Dow Jones data we’ve acquired as a result of this transaction.”  

“CB Insights is well positioned to take VentureSource into its next chapter, in a way that provides even more value for customers,” said Chris Lloyd, head of Dow Jones’s Professional Information Business. “VentureSource’s high-quality data was developed through proprietary research and using content within Factiva — Dow Jones’s global database of more than 33,000 trusted news and information sources.”

CB Insights has also entered into a licensing arrangement with Dow Jones, which will see it provide a limited set of research reports and company data for Factiva. 

USA, New York. NY

Thomson Reuters acquires Pondera Solutions

Thomson Reuters has acquired Pondera Solutions, a provider of technology and advanced analytics to combat fraud, waste and abuse in healthcare and large government programs. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Thomson Reuters serves government agencies at the federal, state and local level with solutions and resources to improve efficiencies, diminish risk and reduce fraud. The acquisition of Pondera Solutions will enhance the offerings in the risk, fraud and compliance space and will allow Thomson Reuters to expand on its strategic approach to deliver insight through advanced analytics, artificial intelligence and human expertise.

“Thomson Reuters and Pondera share a commitment to serve customers with solutions that reduce fraud by individuals targeting government programs,” said Steve Rubley, president of the Government business for Thomson Reuters. “Pondera will be a key component to the suite of tools available to government customers that use technology, data and human analysis to support their mission and benefit their communities.”

“Government agencies offer and operate some of the largest programs in the world, and that fact alone makes them targets for illicit gains through fraud,” said Jon Coss, CEO and founder, Pondera Solutions. “We have taken the latest technology and advanced analytics to help our clients combat fraud and waste, and by joining Thomson Reuters, we will be able to offer even more to help customers with key insights to minimize risk and reduce fraud.”

Founded in 2011, Pondera Solutions is based in Sacramento and has an office in Florida.

USA, Minneapolis-Saint Paul, MN & USA, Sacramento, CA

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MJ Hudson Group acquires Meyler LLC 

MJ Hudson Group plc, the international financial services support provider, has acquired Meyler LLC, a marketing services and analytics business with a full and part time staff of eight, based in New York and Vancouver. Meyler will be integrated into MJ Hudson’s existing marketing and analytics business in the UK, to form a transatlantic offering to asset managers. The acquisition is expected to be marginally EPS enhancing to MJ Hudson Group plc in its first full year of consolidation.

Formed in 2012, Meyler has an established client base in the Private Equity and Hedge funds sectors, with over 50 predominantly North American clients. As such, it will add to both MJ Hudson’s 200+ existing North American clients and 750+ global asset management clients.

Matthew Hudson, CEO of the Group, said, “Meyler is an award-winning marketing services and analytics business in the alternatives space, led by a dynamic management team. Their client relationships and digital media expertise make for a compelling combination with our own MJ Hudson marketing business. Meyler has a particular expertise in the use of digital data and analytics to optimise clients’ communications with investors and would-be investors. As we continue into a new era of asset management, we anticipate greater need in our client base for digital marketing and analytics services. Meyler is a recognised leader in this field.

“This move is another small but important step in our strategy for growth in North America. Meyler is an unregulated business with an entrepreneurial management team, a client base we understand and services we can scale. This deal builds on the 200 clients we already have in the US, the largest single market for alternatives clients and funds, and follows the opening of our New York office announced prior to the IPO.”

UK, London & USA, New York, NY & Canada, Vancouver

Verisk acquires energy information business Genscape from DMGT for GBP 297M

Verisk logoThe Daily Mail and General Trust, owner of the Mail titles, has sold its energy information business Genscape for GBP 297 million to US firm Verisk. Genscape collects data and offers forecasts and analytics to customers in the market, as well as providing software solutions.

New York-listed Verisk, which also provides risk analysis to the insurance sector, acquired the energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie for GBP 1.85 billion in 2015. Genscape will become part of Wood Mackenzie.

DMGT chief executive Paul Zwillenberg said, “This transaction marks another major milestone in DMGT’s continued transformation and is in line with our strategy. It will further increase the focus of the portfolio and will result in DMGT operating in five sectors, compared to ten in 2016.”

He added that the sale of Genscape was “consistent with our strategic priorities” and would add more than GBP 200 million net cash to the company’s balance sheet.

UK, London, USA, Louisville, KY & Jersey City, NJ

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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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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