Consortium to buy Dun & Bradstreet for $6.9BN

Dun & BradstreetAn investor group led by CC Capital, Cannae Holdings and funds affiliated with Thomas H. Lee Partners LP is to acquire financial services firm Dun & Bradstreet in a take-private deal valued at $5.4 billion, excluding debt.

Under the buyout agreement, shareholders of the 177-year-old Short Hills, N.J., financial-services company will receive $145 in cash for each share of common stock they own, Dun & Bradstreet said late Wednesday in a news release. That represents a premium of about 30% over its closing share price of $111.63 on Feb. 12, the last trading day before the company said it planned a strategic review of the business.

Thomas J. Manning, Dun & Bradstreet’s chief executive, said that the deal is the “culmination of a thoughtful and comprehensive review of the value creation opportunities available to the company as part of a full portfolio and business assessment and exploration of strategic alternatives with multiple financial sponsors”. Mr. Manning and James N. Fernandez, a director of the firm, will serve as CEO and chairman, respectively, through the deal’s closing, Dun & Bradstreet said.

The New York Stock Exchange-listed company will become privately held after the closing of the deal, which it values at $6.9 billion including the assumption of $1.5 billion of Dun & Bradstreet’s net debt and net pension obligations.

“As a private company, Dun & Bradstreet will be well positioned to reinvigorate growth and create increased value for all stakeholders,” said Thomas Hagerty, a managing director at private-equity firm Thomas H. Lee.

The deal will be financed through a combination of committed equity financing provided by the investor group, as well as debt financing that has been committed to by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citigroup Inc. and RBC Capital Markets, Dun & Bradstreet said.

Dun & Bradstreet said its board is unanimously recommending that shareholders vote to adopt the agreement a coming special meeting. The deal is expected to close within six months, subject to shareholder approval, regulatory and other customary conditions, Dun & Bradstreet said.

However, the agreement also provides for a 45-day “go-shop” period to draw more potential buyers, the company said.

Dun & Bradstreet said it would have the right to terminate the deal agreement to enter into a superior proposal subject to certain conditions and procedures.

JPMorgan is serving as financial adviser to the company. Financial advisers to the buyer include BofA Merrill Lynch, Citigroup and RBC Capital Markets, Dun & Bradstreet said.

The company has also released second-quarter earnings, saying it recorded net income of $93 million, or earnings per share of $2.50, on revenue of $439.6 million.

USA, Short Hills, NJ & New York, NY

Blackstone completes acquisition of PSAV

BlackstonePrivate equity and real estate funds managed by Blackstone have completed the acquisition of event experiences company PSAV. As part of the completed transaction, affiliates of Goldman Sachs will be reinvesting alongside Blackstone in the transaction to continue to participate in the ongoing growth of PSAV. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

PSAV is a global leader in event experiences, providing creative, production, advanced technology and staging services to help meeting planners deliver more dynamic and impactful experiences at their meetings, trade shows and special events. The team consists of more than 9,000 professionals across 1,500 on-site venue locations and 49 branch offices within the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Middle East. It was recently named to the Forbes 2018 America’s Best Employer list.

PSAV delivers on its purpose of connecting and inspiring people by creating impactful event experiences. Through its deep expertise in creative, production, advanced technology and staging services, PSAV is an invaluable partner to meeting and event planners. It is the trusted provider of choice at leading venues across the globe.

In June, the companies announced a definitive agreement for Blackstone to acquire PSAV from affiliates of Goldman Sachs and Olympus Partners.

USA, New York, NY & Schiller Park, IL

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Euromoney acquires price reporting business Random Lengths for $18.2M

Euromoney plcEuromoney Institutional Investor PLC has acquired Random Lengths, a price reporting agency for the global wood products industry.

Random Lengths provides unbiased and consistent price assessments and market reporting for the global wood products industry with a core focus on the North American lumber and panels markets, assessing and publishing over 1,500 prices per week. The acquisition strengthens Euromoney’s position in price reporting for the global forest products industry, following the acquisition of RISI in April 2017, which provides price reporting, analytics and industry events for the same sector.

Euromoney will pay $18.2 million in cash for Random Lengths, of which $2 million is deferred for up to 18 months. Pro forma EBITDA for the financial year 2018 is expected to be $1.1 million.

Random LengthsRaju Daswani, CEO of Euromoney’s PRA Division, said: “The acquisition of Random Lengths is an important step in our strategy to be a leading global cross-commodity PRA business for the markets we serve. Random Lengths has a strong reputation in North America and is complementary to our existing forest products business, established through the acquisition of RISI in 2017. By integrating these businesses alongside our metals & mining services, we will further establish our position as a global leader in the commodity price reporting industry. “

UK, London & USA, Eugene, OR

Vitesse Media to buy InvestmentNews for $27.1M

Vitesse Media plcDigital media and events company Vitesse Media is to acquire InvestmentNews, a leading source of news, analysis and information to the financial advisory community from its parent, Crain Communications Inc., for approximately $27.1 million. The deal is expected to close mid-August.

As part of the deal, InvestmentNews’ leadership team will remain intact — as will its award-winning editorial, multimedia, audience, custom, research & data, marketing, sales and event divisions.

Crain launched InvestmentNews in 1997 as a weekly magazine covering the U.S. financial advice profession. InvestmentNews has since expanded its engagement with its core audience through the launch of an award-winning website, live events and research and data offerings. Today, InvestmentNews is the No. 1 media brand in the financial advice market, with more than 150,000 weekly print readers. InvestmentNews.com garners an average of 545,000 unique visitors each month. In addition, InvestmentNews operates a growing events business, which includes the Retirement Income Summit, Woman Adviser Summit and Best Practices Workshop. It is also produces editorial and custom research relevant to advisers and the businesses that serve them.

Simon Stilwell, who was appointed CEO of Vitesse in August 2017, said, “InvestmentNews is the leading brand in its community, it fits well into the Vitesse stable and provides the company with the opportunity to pursue other bolt on opportunities to expand, especially in its events and data business. Its American presence further allows us to expand our reach geographically, a key aspect of our future strategy.”

Upon completion of the deal, Vitesse will change its name to Bonhill Group plc, subject to shareholders’ approval.

UK, London & USA, New York, NY

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Enthusiast Gaming Media acquires The Escapist Magazine

Enthusiast GamingEnthusiast Gaming Media Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Enthusiast Gaming Inc. has acquired The Escapist Magazine from Defy Media. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 2005, Escapist is a leading online magazine focused on in-depth coverage of the video game industry in addition to movies, comics, TV, and more. Averaging over 6 million monthly visits since 2008, the acquisition significantly grows Enthusiast Gaming’s network and follows the successful acquisition of Destructoid.com in 2017, enhancing the company’s growth strategy as the fastest growing community of online gamers.

Former Editor-in-Chief of Escapist Russ Pitts will be returning to the position after leaving in 2011 to help Vox Media launch Polygon. Mr Pitts spent 5 years building and growing the online magazine and has an impressive track record with Escapist including: six Webby Awards, two Streamy nominations, a G.A.N.G. Award nomination, two dozen video series, over 1,000 written articles and a Time Magazine “50 Best Websites” mention.

Menashe Kestenbaum, Founder & CEO of Enthusiast Gaming, said, “The acquisition of Escapist is instrumental as we continue to grow our network of gamers. Escapist represents long form and intellectual content generation and will be another flagship platform in our network. Russ is a true visionary in online gaming journalism and we are thrilled to bring him back to lead Escapist.”

Canada, Toronto & USA, Durham, NC

Kew Media completes acquisition of Essential Media Group

Kew Media GroupProduction and distribution firm Kew Media Group has completed the previously reported acquisition of the Essential Media Group.

The Essential Media Group is the newly formed international content company from the merger of two leading independent production companies and joint venture partners – Essential Media and Entertainment and Quail Entertainment. Headed by CEO and Executive Producer Chris Hilton and CCO and Executive Producer Greg Quail, EMG combines strong credentials and track records in both scripted and unscripted content.

Steven Silver, Kew Founder and CEO, said, “The addition of Essential to the Kew platform is another step forward in our growth strategy. It expands Kew’s US offering and gives us a first presence in Australia. We anticipate strong revenue synergies coming from Essential’s inclusion for 2019.

Canada, Toronto & USA, Los Angeles, CA

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Keywords Studios acquires Snowed In Studios for $4M (CAD)

keywordsKeywords Studios, the international creative and technical services provider to the global video games industry, has acquired Snowed In Studios Inc. from its current owners, Jean-Sylvain Sormany, Tim Vito and Evan Hahn, for up to $4 million Canadian dollars.

Founded in 2010 and based in Ottawa, Canada, Snowed In offers engineering and co-development services to the video-games industry and has a strong global reputation and well-established relationships with clients such as Ubisoft, Nickelodeon and Bethesda. The company has 29 employees all working in-house in its office in Ottawa led by the current owners, who will remain with Snowed In to drive its growth as part of Keywords.

Andrew Day, CEO of Keywords Studios, said, “The addition of Snowed In to the Group will add strength and scale to our recently established engineering service line and enable Snowed In to take advantage of the group’s very strong presence in the region to support its growth. Having grown the engineering service line from nothing in May 2017, we now employ over 300 software engineers in multiple regions, and I’m delighted that Jean-Sylvain, Tim, Evan and their highly talented and creative team are joining the group as we continue to grow.”

Ireland, Dublin & Canada, Ottawa

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