Energy Services Group acquires Utiligroup

ESG logoEnergy Services Group (ESG), the retail energy industry’s provider of SaaS solutions including transaction management (EDI), billing and CIS, wholesale energy services, and sales and pricing, supported by private equity firm Accel-KKR, has acquired UK-based Utiligroup from NorthEdge Capital. Founded in 1997, Utiligroup is a provider of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions to the utilities and energy industries. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

NorthEdge initially backed Utiligroup in a £16.1 million management buyout from owners Bglobal (now part of Energy Assets Group) in June 2014. Story Link

Global had acquired Utiligroup in 2010 for a reported maximum consideration of up to £12.8 million. Story Link

UtiligroupThe sale to ESG is the fifth exit from NorthEdge’s maiden £225m Fund I and has generated a gross 5.7x return on investment. NorthEdge is reinvesting alongside
Accel-KKR as part of the new deal.

“ESG continues to build on our strategy of providing best-in-class technology solutions and services to energy resellers and empowering energy choice around the world,” said CEO Phil Galati. “We are incredibly excited about the opportunity to grow our market presence and strengthen our product offerings through the partnership with Utiligroup.”

According to Matthew Hirst, CEO at Utiligroup, “We have built a leadership position in the UK market by consistently innovating, using our deep industry expertise to help our customers grow and evolve with the market.” “We look forward to this next chapter, bringing the best of ESG and Utiligroup to our customers across the globe.”

The UK entity will continue operations as Utiligroup, and Matthew Hirst will remain as CEO of the UK business, reporting to Phil Galati, ESG CEO.  Matthew will also join the board of directors of ESG.

The acquisition of Utiligroup by ESG follows the acquisition of Latitude Technologies in November 2016.

USA, Norwell, MA and UK, Chorley, UK

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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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CLEAResult acquires Green Team Energy Services

clearesult_logoCLEAResult, a provider of energy efficiency services in North America, has acquired Green Team Energy Services, a provider of digital, cloud-based energy efficiency and demand side management (DSM) software that leverages the Salesforce.com CRM platform. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

dsmtracker_4302013Green Team’s cloud based software, DSMTracker, will be incorporated into CLEAResult’s residential, commercial and industrial, and marketing offerings. CLEAResult will also offer DSMTracker as a standalone software platform. Several utility companies, including Duke Energy and Alameda Municipal Power, have adopted DSMTracker to automate key aspects of their DSM programs, including program planning and design, marketing, tracking, execution, electronic rebate processing, document management and reporting.

 

Green Team was founded in 2013 and is headquartered in Atlanta. All of Green Team’s employees will join CLEAResult.

“As our clients’ industry evolves, leading-edge technology applications for energy efficiency have taken on tremendous importance in terms of creating differentiated experiences and customer growth,” said Aziz Virani, CLEAResult CEO. “This technology investment will allow us to further increase the value we are able to create for our clients as the leading provider of energy efficiency programs, and reflects our continued commitment to bring innovative technologies and capabilities that will help our utility clients succeed.”

 

USA, Austin, TX & Atlanta, GA

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

Ascential plc acquires MediaLink for up to $207M

ascentialAscential plc the B2B media company, is to acquire US-based media advisory and business services provider MediaLink for an initial cash price of $69 million plus earnouts.

The earnouts are payable over the period to February 2021 based on the adjusted EBITDA of the business for the three years 2017 to 2019 and are expected to total between $42m and $62m. The earnouts are payable in cash or, for certain elements, shares at Ascential’s option and a portion of the earn-out payments is subject to founders remaining in employment with the company. The total aggregate consideration, including initial consideration and earn out payments, is capped at $207m and requires stretching profit targets to be reached.

MediaLink reported unaudited revenue of $54 million and adjusted PBT of $14 million in 2016, with year-on-year growth of 29% and 24% respectively, and had gross assets of $11 million at December 2016.

The company serves the consumer goods and services segment and operates from four offices in the U.S. Michael Kassan founded Medialink in 2003, he will continue to run the business.

Duncan Painter, Chief Executive Officer of Ascential plc, said: “MediaLink is a leader in its industry, with a strong and very visible brand presence in the US. MediaLink is an excellent fit with our existing Ascential offering and I am confident we can help accelerate MediaLink’s business into new markets by using our assets and infrastructure over the coming months and years. I see synergies between MediaLink and our portfolio of products to significantly help accelerate our existing businesses and create additional value for shareholders.”

UK, London & USA, New York, NY

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