Euromoney acquires RISI, a leading price reporting agency, for $125 million

Euromoney PLCEuromoney Institutional Investor is to acquire RISI, the price reporting agency for the global forest products market, for $125 million in cash.

Founded in 1985, RISI has been part of AXIO Group, an Epiris Managers’ business, since 2013. RISI is headquartered in USA, Bedford, Massachusetts, and employs 150 people across the United States, China, Belgium, Finland and Brazil.

risiIts product suite consists of pricing data, mill intelligence and analytics as well as news, research and conferences covering the pulp, packaging, wood products, wood fibre and saw logs markets. Its price indices are critical to the daily business operations and trading activities of major paper and board, packaging and other forest-product companies. 

 RISI’s products are embedded in the workflows of its customers who use RISI’s information to price physical transactions and inform their strategic decisions. Many of RISI’s 2200 price series are used as the main settlement mechanism in industry contracts. 

In calendar year 2016 RISI’s unaudited revenues were $29.6 million and its unaudited EBITDA was $7.7 million. RISI’s revenues are derived predominantly from selling subscription products and have high revenue renewal rates. RISI’s unaudited gross assets at December 31, 2016 were $29.8 million.  

On completion, Euromoney will pay $125 million in cash for RISI, funded from its existing revolving credit facility.  Completion is subject to Hart-Scott-Rodino approval in the United States, which is expected to take approximately four weeks. The acquisition is expected to be earnings-enhancing for Euromoney in its current financial year.

RISI will be managed as part of a new Price Reporting Division, alongside Metal Bulletin Group (Metal Bulletin, American Metal Market and Industrial Minerals), and will report into Raju Daswani, CEO of Metal Bulletin Group and head of the new Price Reporting Division.

Andrew Rashbass, CEO of Euromoney, said: “The acquisition of RISI is another important step in Euromoney’s strategy of building a portfolio of leading price reporting agencies in growing international markets. RISI is a very high-quality business which Euromoney is perfectly placed to grow further. We look forward to working with RISI management and employees around the world to offer the company’s customers products of the highest value.”

In its recent strategy update, Euromoney highlighted price discovery as a key investment theme. The acquisition of RISI follows the acquisition in August last year of FastMarkets, a provider of real-time metals market pricing information.

UK, London & USA, Bedford, MA

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Informa acquires Yachting Promotions for £106M

flibsInforma is to acquire Yachting Promotions Inc. (“YPI”) from Active Interest Media, a privately-owned specialist US media group backed by PE firm Wind Point Partners. The YPI portfolio includes the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, the largest in the world, plus Yachts Miami Beach, Palm Beach International Boat Show, Suncoast Boat Show and the St Petersburg Power and Sailboat Show.

Information will pay a cash consideration of $133m (£106m), including $5m which is subject to the business meeting performance and operating targets. Based on its results in the 12 months ended 31 December 2016, this represents a trailing acquisition multiple of 11.5 times EBITDA. The business also brings with it around $40m of net operating losses that are deductible for US tax purposes over a number of years, equating to a net present value of $33.9m. The inclusion of these tax assets implies a multiple of 8.6 times EBITDA.

Stephen A. Carter, Informa Group Chief Executive, said: “Following three years of private discussions, we are delighted to bring YPI into the Group. It will deepen our leadership in the growing international yachting and boating sector, with its attractive exhibitions complementing our existing ownership of the Monaco Yacht Show.”

On completion, the addition of YPI will make Informa’s Global Exhibitions Division the largest contributor to Group revenues and profit, with annual sales of more than £500m. The Division operates a portfolio of about 200 exhibition brands. 

The acquisition further increases Informa’s scale in the US, where the Group has been buying and building a position over recent years through a combination of organic investment and a series of targeted acquisitions in verticals including Construction & Real Estate (Hanley Wood Exhibitions, WWETT), Natural Products (Virgo, Penton), Agriculture (Penton), Life Sciences (FIME) and Pop Culture (Orlando MegaCon, Dallas Comicon). Following the addition of YPI, on a pro-forma basis the US is expected to represent more than 50% of Group revenues and also over half of the Global Exhibitions Division.

The consideration will be funded through existing debt facilities. It is anticipated that the Group’s net debt to EBITDA ratio will be around 2.6 times immediately following completion, falling within the Group’s target range of 2.0 times to 2.5 times by the end of 2017. Completion is expected by early March. 

Note: On 6 March, Informa will announce full-year results for the 12-month period ending 31 December 2016.

UK, London & USA, El Segundo, CA

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ZPG Plc acquires Expert Agent

zpgZPG Plc has acquired Expert Agent. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

Established in 2003, Expert Agent provides cloud-based software solutions and systems for the day-to-day management of inventory, marketing and communications for estate agents and lettings agents across the UK. 

expertagentUntil February 2017 ZPG Plc was called Zoopla Property Group Plc. The company is already the owner of Zoopla, uSwitch, PrimeLocation, Hometrack and Property Software Group.

Expert Agent will continue to operate as a standalone platform and brand and the team will become part of the Property Services division of ZPG.

Mark Goddard, Managing Director, ZPG Property Services said, “This acquisition helps us continue to enhance the services we offer to UK property professionals, including software and CRM, digital marketing and data insight tools. We will integrate our MoveIT and MyPropertyFile products into the Expert Agent platform in time to provide its members with a range of new revenue opportunities. Our ambition is to be the most effective partner to the UK property industry and this deal is another step towards that goal. We look forward to welcoming Mike and his team to the ZPG family.”

UK, London

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Ogilvy & Mather acquires stake in Eightytwenty in Ireland

ogilvyWPP‘s wholly-owned marketing communications network, Ogilvy & Mather, has acquired a stake in its digital partner and Irish digital communications business, Eightytwenty Customer Experience Limited.

 Dublin-based Eightytwenty employs around 30 people and has developed a bespoke model that combines creative, data, performance media and technology to design and deliver campaign narratives across the entire customer journey

Ogilvy & Mather and Eightytwenty have been working together since 2015. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

UK, London & Ireland, Dublin

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Keywords Studios acquires Spov 

keywordsKeywords Studios, a technical services provider to the video games industry, has acquired Spov Ltd. for up to £1.2 million in cash from its founder, Allen Leitch. Based in London, UK, Spov provides creative development, cinematics, UI, visual effects and motion graphics services to the video game and film markets. ()

Founded in 2007 by Allen Leitch, Spov maintains a small team of creatives in London and manages a network of experienced designers, animators, film makers and artists to produce intricate footage for use in video games, film and TV. The company has worked on titles that include Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Watch Dogs, The Division, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare; Batman: Arkham Knight and Marvel’s Doctor Strange.

 Fred Stockton, Global Art Service Line Director, Keywords Studios commented: “We are thrilled to have Allen and the Spov team of talented creative professionals join the Art Service Line at Keywords Studios.  Their skills and experience will enhance our ability to provide a broader range of services to our clients.  Likewise, we look forward to meeting with Spov clients to share with them the full spectrum of capabilities that Keywords Studios has to offer.  This acquisition will strengthen our market position as a leading provider of digital art services and will contribute to our continuing growth in this area.”

Ireland, Dublin & UK, London

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RWS Holdings plc to acquire life sciences language services provider LUZ

rwsRWS Holdings plc, a provider of intellectual property support services (patent translations, international patent filing solutions and searches), commercial translations and linguistic validation, is to acquire LUZ, Inc., a US based life sciences language services provider for $82.5 million. RWS is placing 12.1 million new Ordinary Shares to raise £40 million to part-fund the Acquisition. The balance will be funded from a new $26.3 million banking facility with Barclays Bank as well as existing RWS cash resources.The acquisition is expected to complete on 17 February 2017 following completion of the Placing.

luzBased in San Francisco with around 100 employees, LUZ is a life sciences translation provider, specialising in medical devices and regulatory activities. LUZ services a number of the world’s leading pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers. Services include translation, desktop publishing, client review coordination, and project management.

In the year to 31 December 2016, LUZ delivered revenue of $29.2 million (2015: $23.7 million; 2014: $21.2 million) and operating profit of $7.7 million (2015: $3.6 million; 2014: $3.4 million).

The operational management team of LUZ is expected to continue in current roles; the founders and current owners will exit in full after a short transition period.

Andrew Brode, Chairman of RWS, commented: “We are delighted to be acquiring LUZ which, together with CTi, will strengthen the Enlarged Group as a leading player in the global Life Sciences translation space, with a significant presence across North America, Europe and Asia. We are also pleased with the level of support we have received from existing shareholders and new institutional investors in the Placing.”

UK, Chalfont St Peter & USA, San Francisco, CA

Independent British energy supplier Ovo acquires U.S. smart grid technology company VCharge

ovoOVO Energy, a UK based independent energy supplier, has acquired of US energy technology company, VCharge. Headquartered near Boston, VCharge has developed a proprietary technology platform that changes how electric grids are controlled in preparation for the rapid transition to renewable energy and energy storage, helping to solve the problem of renewables intermittency. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

vchargeThe groundbreaking technology uses advanced algorithms to balance grid requirements with individual user requirements.  The first application of the pioneering technology controls electric storage heating in social housing to better manage resident comfort and to address the issue of fuel poverty in local communities, while simultaneously supporting the widespread adoption of renewable energy by providing valuable grid balancing services.

VCharge heating controls are fitted to new or existing electric storage heaters and can be controlled via a smartphone.  When coupled with a new smart tariff, residents experience dramatically improved comfort, lower bills and have control over their heating systems for the first time.

VCharge has completed a number of successful trials of the technology over the last year with major social housing landlords in London, Scotland and the North East, and, with OVO, will begin offering free heating control upgrades combined with a new smart energy tariff to the 1.5m households in Great Britain with electric storage heaters later this year.

The acquisition is the first in OVO’s seven year history.

Stephen Fitzpatrick, CEO of OVO, said: “I’m thrilled to bring VCharge into the OVO family. The team have been doing incredibly exciting and important work in developing technologies that answer the enormous challenge of how to bring more renewable energy to grids around the world. We believe this platform will harness the potential of energy storage in reducing dependency on fossil fuels, while helping to make energy more affordable for all.”

UK, Bristol & USA, Boston, MA