IBM to acquire Red Hat for $34bn

IBMIBM and Red Hat, the world’s leading provider of open source cloud software, have reached a definitive agreement under which IBM will acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Red Hat for $190.00 per share in cash, representing a total enterprise value of approximately $34 billion.

Red Hat is a leading provider of enterprise open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to deliver reliable and high-performing Linux, hybridRed Hat cloud, container, and Kubernetes technologies. Red Hat helps customers integrate new and existing IT applications, develop cloud-native applications, standardize on our industry-leading operating system, and automate, secure, and manage complex environments.

Ginni Rometty, IBM Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “The acquisition of Red Hat is a game-changer. It changes everything about the cloud market. IBM will become the world’s #1 hybrid cloud provider, offering companies the only open cloud solution that will unlock the full value of the cloud for their businesses. Most companies today are only 20 percent along their cloud journey, renting compute power to cut costs. The next 80 percent is about unlocking real business value and driving growth. This is the next chapter of the cloud. It requires shifting business applications to hybrid cloud, extracting more data and optimizing every part of the business, from supply chains to sales.”

Upon closing of the acquisition, Red Hat will join IBM’s Hybrid Cloud team as a distinct unit, preserving the independence and neutrality of Red Hat’s open source development heritage and commitment, current product portfolio and go-to-market strategy, and unique development culture. Red Hat will continue to be led by Jim Whitehurst and Red Hat’s current management team. Jim Whitehurst also will join IBM’s senior management team and report to Ginni Rometty. IBM intends to maintain Red Hat’s headquarters, facilities, brands and practices.

USA, Armonk, NY and Raleigh, NC

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Emerald Expositions acquires Total Tech Summit for US$28M

Emerald ExpositionsUS event producer Emerald Expositions has announced the acquisition of leading technology event Total Tech Summit and a group of complementary technology intelligence brands from EH Media for approximately $28 million in cash.

The acquired brands have delivered impressive organic growth in recent years, driven by increases in digital revenues, now representing approximately half of total revenues, as well as solid event revenue growth. These brands are strategically aligned with Emerald’s CEDIA Expo and Connecting Point Marketing Group (CPMG) businesses, and include:

Total Tech Summit: a premier hosted-buyer event serving the residential, commercial and security integrator markets;

CEPro: a leading media brand for custom technology integrators in the residential market and the media partner of Emerald’s CEDIA Expo trade show;

Commercial Integrator: a top information source for commercial technology integrators serving small and midsize businesses;

Security Sales & Integration: a leading media brand for residential and commercial security installation contractors; and

Campus Safety: a leading media brand serving security professionals responsible for schools and academic campuses with several events and intelligence products.

David Loechner, Emerald’s president and CEO, commented, “We are thrilled to welcome the EH Media team and their highly valuable brands and assets to Emerald. Ken Moyes has built an impressive group of interconnected, technology-oriented brands that are focused on the integration of audio, video, communications, IT, security and energy management products into buildings of all types. We see a tremendous opportunity to deliver continued strong organic growth in these businesses while also achieving synergies as we integrate these brands and assets into Emerald. We believe that this acquisition, once fully integrated, will not only strengthen our existing trade shows but also expand both their relevance and growth profile in several of our key end markets.”

USA, San Juan Capistrano, CA & Framingham, MA

Warburg Pincus invests in Reorg Research

Warburg PincusWarburg Pincus has acquired a controlling stake in Reorg Research, an industry-leading provider of real-time news, commentary, and analysis on issues affecting the distressed debt, event-driven and leveraged finance markets. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 2013 by former distressed debt investor Kent Collier, Reorg leverages powerful proprietary technology to collect data in real-time and apply machine learning and natural language processing to filter the information, all in one easy-to-find place. The company also has a dedicated team of experts comprised of journalists, former lawyers and investment bankers that leverage Reorg’s proprietary technology to deliver industry-leading editorial content. Reorg currently has a suite of six SaaS-based products, each with a distinct value proposition, that a diverse and loyal global client base – including leading hedge funds, investment banks, law firms and financial advisors – uses to make better business and investment decisions.

This latest deal reflects heightened investor interest in providers of specialist content; the agreement follows Fitch Group’s purchase last week of Fulcrum Financial Data, a rival distressed-debt research firm whose publications include Covenant Review and LevFin Insights. In 2017, BC Partners sold a minority stake in Acuris, which publishes the trade publications Debtwire and Mergermarket, at a valuation of £1bn. Blackstone earlier this year bought a majority stake in Thomson Reuters Financial & Risk at a valuation of $20bn.

Kent Collier, the distressed-debt investor and blogger who launched Reorg in 2013, said, “Data is compounding at a geometric rate around the world and there is too much of it to be analysed by editorial talent alone”.

Chandler Reedy, Managing Director at Warburg Pincus, said, “Kent is a unique talent, and he and his team have built a highly differentiated business and technology platform with team of experts that synthesize and analyze real-time, mission-critical information highly sought by their customers. As the clear market leader with a proven growth model across multiple products and geographies, we believe Reorg is exceptionally well positioned for continued growth.”

USA, New York, NY

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Hg makes strategic investment in Financial Express

Hg Capital plcHg, the manager of HgCapital Trust plc, is to make a significant investment in Financial Express, a leading data, analytics and software vendor focussed on the UK and Australian retail investment funds markets. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. HgCapital Trust plc will invest approximately £7.5 million in FE, with other institutional clients of Hg investing alongside the Company through the Mercury 2 Fund.

Based on the 30 April 2018 NAV, the company’s liquid resources available for future deployment, including all announced transactions, are estimated to be £145 million (20% of the 30 April 2018 pro forma NAV of £712.8 million). In addition, the company has access to an £80 million standby facility, which is currently undrawn. The investment will reduce the company’s outstanding commitments to invest in Hg transactions over the next four to five years to approximately £587 million.

Founded by Michael Holland and Craig Wilson, FE is a leading provider of investment data, research and software to the financial services industry in the UK and operates a proprietary database of complete retail funds data with global coverage and history, built up over 20 years. Trusted by investors, advisers, asset managers and platforms who use FE data, software and investment advice every day, FE is a leading player in supporting the UK fund industry.

The investment will be made from the Mercury 2 Fund. FE has a number of business characteristics that Hg looks for, including a strong position in the wealth / asset management software and data sector, a well-recognised brand, mission-critical products, and a strong management team led by Neil Bradford.

The investment comes on the back of significant expansion of FE’s global operations and product offering over the past few years, and another year of record growth for the company in 2017.

Sebastien Briens, Partner at Hg, said: ‘We have been following FE for a number of years, and have been impressed by the strength and depth of its data, products, team and vision. We are very pleased to partner with Michael, Craig and Neil in the next stage of growth for the business.’

Neil Bradford, CEO at FE, said: ‘Hg’s track record and experience in our sector means they are the perfect partner to continue FE’s growth strategy and international expansion ambitions. We look forward to working with the Hg team.’

Michael Holland, co founder of FE, said: ‘Data is at the foundation of everything we do and Hg has a deep understanding of the fund data space. I am confident that this partnership will hugely benefit our clients.’

UK, London

Euromoney acquires European investment industry survey Extel

EuromoneyEuromoney Institutional Investor PLC, the international business information and events group, has acquired 100% of the business and assets of Extel from WeConvene. Extel will be integrated into Euromoney’s Institutional Investor Research business which is well known for its sell-side analyst and corporate IR performance research and rankings, and strengthens further Institutional Investor’s asset management offering. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Extel runs the annual independent survey of quality across the European equities investment community. The Extel Survey began in 1974 and in 2017 over 15,500 investment professionals cast 1.1 million votes across the investment industry, providing a huge dataset to help clients analyse and drive their market understanding.

The acquisition of Extel fits within Euromoney’s strategy of investing in its main themes, specifically asset management. Extel is deeply embedded in the equities investment community and its complementary data sets and highly valued analytics and insights will support the transition of Institutional Investor to a next generation 3.0 business model.

Will Rowlands-Rees, MD of Institutional Investor Research, said: “Although a small business, Extel has a strong reputation in the European market, and is highly complementary to our existing Institutional Investor Research offerings. By integrating these businesses, we will create a unique bulge bracket through domestic broker view of research product evaluation in the European market at a time of tremendous market change driven by MiFID II. I look forward to leveraging our shared expertise and knowledge, and partners in the investment community to build a stronger and broader set of capabilities across our portfolio of products to help with these challenges.”

UK, London

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XLMedia acquires websites from Good Game Ltd for €15M

XLMediaXLMedia, a provider of digital performance marketing, has agreed to acquire a number of leading Finnish gambling-related informational websites from Good Game Ltd for a total cash consideration of up to €15 million. The acquisition is expected to complete during the first quarter of 2018 and to be immediately earnings enhancing in the current financial year following completion.

The marketing services company said the acquired websites recorded €1.7 million revenue and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation margin of “at least” 75% in the year ended November 2017, implying Ebitda of around €1.3 million.

The deal involves an initial consideration of €7.0 million payable with milestones related to the transfer of assets which is expected to take place over three months. A further €7.0 million will be payable contingent on “significant growth in performance” of the acquisition over the subsequent six months.

XLMedia will also pay a share of revenues from the acquisition over the three months transition period. This is expected to amount to around €500,000 but is capped at €1.0 million.

The acquisition comprises a leading network of gambling-related websites focused on web and mobile traffic, specialising in casino games. Active since 2009, the websites provide visitors with useful information such as reviews of online casino websites, comparison of promotions offered by different brands and information on payment solutions. Traffic to and followers of the websites has steadily grown since inception and they now refer a significant number of players to their customers’ websites.

Chief Executive Officer of XLMedia, Ory Weihs, commented: “As we develop our business, we continue to capitalise on the infrastructure we have built, and take opportunities to expand further through acquisitions. With our current network, technology and sector expertise, the additional assets will be integrated easily into our operation, adding to our strong base of assets and recurring revenues. We are seeing good opportunities to buy additional assets in our key verticals, and we plan to continue acquiring domains and websites as part of our ongoing growth strategy.”

UK, Jersey, St. Helier & Malta, Gżira

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CRIF Acquires Vision-Net, a Leading Business Information Provider in Ireland

CRIFCRIF, a global company specialising in credit bureau, business information and credit solutions, has acquired Vision-Net, a leading provider of business information based in Dublin. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Vision-Net provides immediate access to credit reports and business information on every company in Ireland and the UK. Established in 1991, its client portfolio includes some of Ireland’s leading corporate companies across the financial services, legal and accountancy sectors, as well as listed companies, public sector bodies, multinationals and indigenous SMEs.

Carlo Gherardi, President and CEO of CRIF, said, “Our vision is built on developing new partnerships to strengthen what we offer to our clients and anticipate market needs. By combining the strength of CRIF’s global know-how and experience with Vision-Net’s distinctive expertise, we will help our clients to seize new opportunities and open up new possibilities for growth and innovation.”

USA, Atlanta, GA & Ireland, Dublin