Moody’s Corporation to acquire RMS from DMGT for $2 billion

Moody’s Corporation is acquiring RMS from Daily Mail and General Trust plc for approximately £1,425 million (approximately $2 billion). RMS is a global provider of climate and natural disaster risk modelling and analytics. It services the global property and casualty insurance and reinsurance industries.

In the 12 months to 31 March 2021, RMS generated £33 million adjusted operating profit and £38 million EBITDA from revenues of £242 million. Based on these figures, the acquisition is made for is a premium valuation of more than 30 times EBITDA.

Moody’s reports that, subject to final conformity to their accounting policies, for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2021, RMS is expected to generate revenue of approximately $320 million and adjusted operating income of approximately $55 million.

The acquisition will immediately increase Moody’s insurance data and analytics business to nearly $500 million in revenue. RMS is expected to generate up to $150 million of incremental run-rate revenue by 2025.

“Today’s leaders face a complex, interlinked world of risks and stakeholders,” said Rob Fauber, President and Chief Executive Officer of Moody’s. “In the context of a global pandemic, the climate crisis and increasing cyberattacks, our customers must manage a wider range of risks than ever before. We are excited to add RMS and its team of world-class data scientists, modelers and software engineers to the Moody’s family to help accelerate solutions that enable customers to build resilience and make better decisions.”

Moody’s will fund the transaction through a combination of cash-on-hand and the issuance of new debt. The acquisition is expected to close in late 3Q 2021.

USA, New York, NY & Newark, CA & UK, London

News Corp to acquire OPIS

News Corp is to acquire the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) and related assets from S&P Global and IHS Markit.

News Corp is acquiring OPIS for $1.15 billion in a cash transaction, subject to customary adjustments, and also expects to receive an estimated tax benefit of $180 million as part of the transaction. S&P Global and IHS Markit announced in May their exploration of the divestiture of the businesses to ensure a timely merger of both companies. News Corp’s acquisition of OPIS is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals and the consummation of the S&P Global and IHS Markit merger, which is expected in the fourth quarter of this calendar year. OPIS will become part of Dow Jones’ Professional Information Business (PIB), which includes Dow Jones Risk & Compliance, Dow Jones Newswires and Factiva. OPIS has a revenue base that is nearly 100% digital, 95% recurring and operates at approximately 50+% Adjusted EBITDA margins.

Founded in 1977, OPIS today is a global industry standard for benchmark and reference pricing and news and analytics for the oil, natural gas liquids and biofuels industries, and a growing provider of insights and analytics in renewables and carbon pricing. At its core, OPIS provides end-to-end pricing and analytics information to the energy industry from the refinery to the retailer.

“OPIS will be the cornerstone for a rising commodities, energy and renewables digital business that we are convinced will have a positive impact on Dow Jones and News Corp,” said Robert Thomson, Chief Executive of News Corp. “We certainly believe OPIS and Dow Jones will be more than the sum of their valuable parts. Dow Jones is ideally positioned to accelerate growth at OPIS, while OPIS will be a powerful pillar, alongside Risk & Compliance, in the fast-growing Dow Jones Professional Information Business.”

OPIS and related assets revenues have grown at an approximate 10% CAGR, including acquisitions, since 2016, as disclosed by IHS Markit, and grew at a consistent rate through the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, the 2014-2015 oil market downturn and the current pandemic. In its current fiscal year (ending November 30, 2021), OPIS is expected to generate approximately $129 million in revenues, Adjusted EBITDA margins exceeding 50%.In its fiscal year ended November 30, 2020, OPIS generated revenue and Adjusted EBITDA of approximately $121 million and $61 million, respectively.

OPIS, headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, also has offices in Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, Romania and Singapore. The company employs approximately 400 professionals globally.

News Corp will report its full year 2021 results on August 5, 2021.

USA, New York, NY & USA, Rockville, MD

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

Related Fusion media related deals

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

dmg media acquires New Scientist for £70M

dmg media has acquired New Scientist, one of the world’s leading science publishing titles, from a consortium of individual investors led by Sir Bernard Gray, for £70m cash consideration. 

New Scientist, first published on 22 November 1956, is a magazine that covers all aspects of science and technology. Based in London with offices in the USA and Australia, it has a weekly circulation of approximately 120,000, of which just over half are UK-based. In 2021 the business is expected to generate cash operating income and operating profit of approximately £7 million and revenues are expected to exceed £20 million. Around 75% of the revenue base is derived from subscriptions. The business also runs international events including New Scientist Live.

Lord Rothermere, Chairman of DMGT, said: “New Scientist is a world-renowned publication loved by its readers, and we are both thrilled and proud to welcome it to the DMGT family.  They are a specialised and talented team who showcase the best of science journalism, bringing integrity, curiosity and craftmanship to their work.  We are very much looking forward to supporting their exciting plans to grow as the go-to publication for anyone interested in the scientific world around us.”  

Paul Zwillenberg, DMGT CEO, added: “The acquisition of New Scientist marks an exciting new addition to the DMGT portfolio and reflects our disciplined approach to acquisitions.  It is a natural step in our consumer strategy to improve the quality of our revenues through building up subscriptions and digital capabilities. We are committed to supporting the talented team and their plans for the future and are confident that the business is well positioned for future growth.” 

UK, London

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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BidEnergy acquires Optima Energy Systems

BidEnergy, an Australian company which provides Utility Bid Expense Management Solutions in Australia, the UK and the USA, has acquired energy management software business Optima Energy Systems, a Skipton, UK-based energy management software business providing: bill validation, budgets and accruals, and tenant and self-billing.

Terms of the transaction

Bid is paying £5.4 million for Optima, plus a conditional Deferred Payment as follows:

  • £3.2 million, payable in cash upfront
  • 3.384 million Bid shares are to be issued to Optima vendors at an issue price of A$1.16 per share (~A$3.9m)
  • Shares will be subject to escrow as follows
    • 25% – 9 months from completion
    • 50% – 12 months from completion
    • 25% – 15 months from completion
  • A Deferred Payment, payable in cash, subject to Optima achieving certain performance milestones regarding revenue and costs within the year following the Completion Date
  • The “Deferred Payment” has two components:
    • A £250,000 payment on achievement of certain recurring cost reductions prior to 31 March 2021; and
    • A payment based on recurring run rate revenues achieved in the Optima business in the 12 months following completion (Bid has provisioned for a payment of F750,000, but the payment could be higher or lower).
  • Steve Wright, Optima’s Managing Director will remain engaged by Optima for at least 12 months, with the potential for a consultancy arrangement thereafter.

The transaction terms value Optima at a multiple of 2.9 times FY20 revenue.

The Optima acquisition adds a further A$3.4m1 to Bid’s annualised subscription revenue, taking overall expected group earnings to A$17.9m as at Nov. 2020

Optima was established in 1998 and has 127 full time employees. In the year to 31 March 2020 Optima had unaudited revenue of £2.18 million and was EBITDA positive (figure not disclosed). The company directly manages energy data for 51 clients, who in turn are responsible for 196,400+ meters under management across the UK. Clients are multi-site MNCs, TPI/Brokers, property management agents, etc

Bid already had a long term relationship with Optima, having provided data collection services to support a limited part of their core business.

Full transaction details here

Australia, Melbourne and UK, Yorkshire

eEnergy Group plc to acquire Beond Group

eEnergy Group plc is to acquire Beond Group Limited, a UK renewable energy consulting and procurement business.

Beond, based in West London, helps its clients to transition to the lowest cost zero carbon energy available in the market. Working with small businesses to large corporates and public sector organisations it runs competitive reverse auctions through its proprietary technology. This ensures that its clients have access to the lowest prices across the market while achieving their net zero energy ambitions. It offers a Risk Managed service for clients that wish to have access to the energy wholesale markets and implements hedging strategies to help protect against rising market prices.

The total consideration for the Acquisition (which includes £0.7 million of surplus cash in the business) comprises approximately £2.4 million in cash and the issue of 64,948,456 consideration shares.

For the year to 31 December 2019, Beond’s revenue grew 10.5% to £3.3 million, with EBITDA of approximately £0.5 million at a margin of 14.1%;

eEnergy Group expects Beond to generate:

  • revenue growth at an annual average rate of 22% from the year to 31 December 2020 to 31 December 2022
  • base case EBITDA for the year to 31 December 2021 of approximately £0.8 million;
  • EBITDA margin improvement from 14% for the year to 31 December 2019 to 28% for the year to 31 December 2022;

The cash component will be funded through a placing of a minimum of £3.0 million to new and existing institutional and other investors, at a Placing Price of 10.0 pence per placing share.

CEO of Beond, Derek Myers, is expected to join the Board of eEnergy on completion of the acquisition.

An integration team, led by new (non-Board) Chief Operating Officer, Robert Van Leeuwen, is expected to work closely with the Beond management team and oversee initiatives to accelerate growth.

Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, commented: 

“The acquisition of Beond is the next step in our journey to delivering a sustainable future for our clients. Beond’s, a climate action business, leverages award-winning technology to secure the best zero carbon energy supply for their customers. With a focus on energy management, their technology will add significant value to eEnergy’s existing client base by helping to make ‘Net Zero’ a reality. Beond’s platform is one of a very small number of specialised reverse auction technologies available to customers, securing the best priced zero carbon energy through a highly competitive auction process. 

eEnergy, listed on AIM, is the parent company of eLight and RSL, which help businesses and schools switch to energy-efficient LED.

UK, London

424 Capital invests in Hospital Energy


Boston based investment firm 424 Capital has launched its first new fund in the 424 series, 424 Capital Fund I, which simultaneously completed the acquisition of Hospital Energy, anenergy management firm which develops and manages energy procurement strategies for US hospital systems.

Together with Eagle Private Capital, 424 Capital purchased a majority share from Founder and CEO Mark Mininberg, who will remain CEO of Hospital Energy. 

Founded in 1995, Hospital Energy’s energy procurement programs serve to lower a hospital’s spend on gas and electricity while reducing energy price volatility. Managing energy use and spend at over 200 hospitals, the Company focuses on all matters related to energy efficiency, resiliency, and sustainability and is the only energy procurement organization focused exclusively on the hospital market in all deregulated US markets. Hospital Energy also organizes and manages onsite renewable power generation which serve to decrease cost, increase their client’s resilience to power interruptions, and meet reduced carbon footprint standards set by state and local governments.

“I’m very pleased with our investment in Hospital Energy.  The Company’s focus on energy management and sustainability is 100% aligned with our core values and investment goals” said Walter Beinecke, Partner at 424 Capital, who will serve as Chairman of the Company.  “Mark Mininberg has built a very solid business with the best possible reputation, which will serve as a terrific platform as we seek to build leadership in the US energy management sector.”

“424 Capital has built strong industry knowledge in energy management and has a long history investing in the healthcare sector”, said CEO Mark Mininberg. “We are excited to partner with 424 Capital while continuing to provide the highest level of service to our client base.”

USA, Wakefield, MA & Elmhurst, IL