A Fusion Deal: MGP sold to WebMD Health Corp.

MGP, an award-winning publisher and multimedia company with over 26 years’ expertise in the dissemination of guidance-related content to support healthcare professionals across the NHS, has been sold to WebMD Health Corp. an Internet Brands company and a leader in health information services for physicians, other healthcare professionals and consumers. Fusion Corporate Partners acted as corporate advisor to MGP. The Fusion team was led by Mark Eisenstadt, Director at Fusion. The terms of the deals were not disclosed.

“Fusion was fortunate to represent MGP, a fast growing market leader, that by providing must have clinical information, provides an invaluable service to medical professionals. Plugged in to the worldwide WebMD network, they will now exploit exciting synergies that will help expand both their offering and reach to further aid medical professionals in improving patient care. It was a pleasure to work with the highly professional and experienced management team who thoroughly deserve their reward. They have built a business that truly makes a positive contribution to healthcare and I look forward to the next chapter of the story.” Mark Eisenstadt, Fusion.

The acquisition combines the core competencies of MGP with that of Medscape, WebMD’s flagship global brand for healthcare professionals. Medscape and its affiliate network of platforms currently reach over 5 million physicians worldwide, of which over 4 million are outside the US. The addition of MGP will build on Medscape’s offerings of clinical news, health information, education and point-of-care tools to provide market-leading, multi-channel reach and engagement with doctors and other healthcare professionals across the UK.

Based in Chesham, UK, MGP’s content is designed to inform clinical decision-making and change clinical behaviour in line with best practice. The diverse offerings include Guidelines summaries, Guidelines in Practice expert articles and videos, the Guidelines Live conference and virtual events.

“Clinical guidelines are foundational to enhancing and improving patient care, and the addition of MGP further drives Medscape’s commitment to supporting UK doctors in clinical practice,” said Jeremy Schneider, Group General Manager, WebMD Global. “MGP and Medscape have the trust and the engagement of hundreds of thousands of UK healthcare professionals, driving clinical behaviour change. Through this transaction, we can leverage our combined strengths and scale to deliver robust, information-rich content to doctors and innovative solutions to customers.”

MGP will continue to operate as an independent subsidiary of Medscape as the companies build on and integrate products, platforms, and services.

USA, New York, NY & UK, Chesham, Buckinghamshire

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Sovereign Capital Partners backs AquaQ Analytics

Sovereign Capital Partners have backed AquaQ Analytics, a specialist data analytics and data science services business supporting global financial institutions. Sovereign has partnered with the management team to further grow the company’s international presence and develop its range of services. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 2011, AquaQ works with its clients to optimise, develop and maintain their database technologies and take advantage of advanced data and analytics. The company, has long-term relationships with a number of leading financial institutions. It also has its own proprietary suite of software tools, TorQ.

AquaQ ‘s headquarters are in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The company has offices in the USA, Singapore and Hong Kong and employs over 180 staff.

Sovereign is backing founders Ronan Pairceir and James Bradley. Guy Warren joins the business as non-executive Chair. Guy is CEO of technology business ITRS, a former NED of White Clarke Group, ex-COO of FTSE Group and EVP of Misys Banking.

Uk, London & Belfast

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

Daily Mail and General Trust plc sells EdTech business business Hobsons in two separate transactions

Daily Mail and General Trust plc is to sell Hobsons, its EdTech business, in two separate transactions, for total proceeds of approximately $410 million.

Hobsons’ Naviance and Intersect businesses are being sold to US-based PowerSchool, a provider of K-12 education technology solutions, for approximately US$320m, and are expected to be part of PowerSchool’s unified platform.

Hobsons’ Starfish business, after an internal restructuring where it will be spun-out from the rest of Hobsons, is being sold to EAB, a US-based education company, for approximately US$90m.

In FY 2020, Hobsons generated £6m adjusted operating profit from revenues of £85m.

Paul Zwillenberg, DMGT CEO, commented: “These two transactions mark another major milestone in DMGT’s transformation and are a clear demonstration of the benefits of our strategy. Hobsons was restructured in 2017 to focus on high-growth opportunities in Student Success. The combination of operational execution and organic investment drove a significant increase in capital value.

Consistent with our strategy, the divestitures will increase the focus of the DMGT portfolio, resulting in the Group operating in four sectors, compared to ten in 2016. The proceeds will strengthen DMGT’s existing net cash position, further enhancing DMGT’s significant financial flexibility.”

UK, London & USA, & USA, Folsom, CA & USA, Washington, DC

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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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