Centaur Media Plc to divest digital platform, events & financial services divisions

centaur-logoFollowing a strategic review, Centaur, the international provider of market intelligence and specialist consultancy, is accelerating the simplification of the Group’s structure to improve operational execution and to focus attention on the leading brands within its marketing division.

Centaur is looking at the potential sale of The Lawyer, which operates a digital platform to provide intelligence and analysis to the global legal market; of its events division, including the Business Travel Show, The Meetings Show, Sub Con and Employee Benefits, and of its financial services division, which includes Money Marketing, Mortgage Strategy, Platforum, Taxbriefs and Headline Money.

Andria Vidler, Centaur Chief Executive, said, “Centaur has made substantial progress this year and these appointments will help us to deliver on our strategy to create a more focused business with good opportunities to grow its revenues and margins. We will work with our advisers to explore divestment possibilities and ensure that shareholder value is maximised.”

UK, London

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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

Incisive Media acquires Open Door Media

Incisive MediaInvestment Week’s parent Incisive Media has acquired Open Door Media Publishing Limited, publisher of Investment Europe and producer of market-leading conferences for fund selectors across Europe.

ODMP is an award-winning financial services media company that brings fund selectors and asset management companies together through its publications, digital products, and extensive portfolio of over twenty conferences across Europe. The company also publishes International Investment for the global adviser community and produces the International Fund and Product Awards, now in their nineteenth year.

Founded in 2013 by Nick Rapley (chairman) and Louise Hanna (director) through a management buyout of the Investment Europe brand from Incisive Media, ODMP has grown rapidly in five years to become a pre-eminent provider of business information and networking to the European asset management industry.

Jonathon Whiteley, CEO of Incisive Media, said, “We have known and worked with Nick, Louise and their team for many years and are excited that we are able to bring Investment Europe and International Investment back into the Incisive Media fold. This acquisition strengthens our asset management publishing and event properties and adds real depth and quality to our growing portfolio for the benefit of our readers, delegates and asset management clients.

UK, London

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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

Blackstone-led consortium agrees partnership with Thomson Reuters for financial & risk business

 

Thomson ReutersFollowing our earlier reporting on talks between Thomson Reuters and private equity firm Blackstone, the transaction has now been agreed on, with Thomson Reuters to sell a 55% majority stake in its F&R business to private equity funds managed by Blackstone. The transaction values the F&R business at approximately $20 billion. Thomson Reuters will receive approximately $17 billion in gross proceeds at closing (subject to purchase price adjustments) funded by $14 billion of debt and preferred equity to be incurred by the partnership and a $3 billion cash equity contribution by Blackstone. Thomson Reuters will retain a 45% interest in the F&R business. Thomson Reuters will also maintain full ownership of its Legal, Tax & Accounting and the Reuters News businesses. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and GIC will invest alongside Blackstone for the transaction.

The F&R business provides a broad range of offerings to financial market professionals. Its global content sets include fundamentals, estimates and primary and secondary research. F&R also provides customers with tools, platforms, venues and services to enable fast, intelligent decision-making. The businesses that will comprise the new F&R partnership had 2017 revenues of approximately $6 billion.

At the closing of the proposed transaction, F&R and Reuters News will sign a 30-year agreement for Reuters to supply news and editorial content to the new partnership. Under the agreement, F&R will pay Reuters a minimum of $325 million annually. For the duration of the news contract, Thomson Reuters will grant F&R a license to permit F&R to brand its information feeds and products/services with the “Reuters” mark, subject to applicable limitations and restrictions set forth in a trademark license agreement.

Jim Smith, president and chief executive officer of Thomson Reuters, said, “This deal strengthens F&R and should accelerate its growth and benefit its customers across the sell-side, buy-side and trading venues. Blackstone’s strong relationships in the financial services industry and long and successful history of corporate partnerships will help F&R provide new and innovative products and services, drive further efficiencies and navigate ongoing industry consolidation.”

Canada, Toronto, Ontario & USA, New York, NY

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Vested acquires Templars Communications

VestedIn its first acquisition, the public relations agency Vested has acquired Templars Communications, a strategic financial public relations and communications consultancy who represent financial services companies, including investment houses, pension providers, AIM listed companies, custodians of wealth and reporting specialists, and alternative finance providers. The terms were undisclosed.

Ishviene Arora, co-founder and chief operating officer of Vested, said “We’ve been looking for the right opportunity to establish an office in London, and acquiring Templars was a natural next step. Our two firms are passionate about the financial industry and share a zealous commitment to delivering value to clients, and we’re excited to seize the opportunities this combination will create for us and for our clients.”

USA, New York, NY & UK, London

LexisNexis acquires Sheshunoff and A.S. Pratt

logo-lexisnexisLexisNexis Legal & Professional, a  provider of content and technology solutions (and part of Reed Elsevier), together with Reed Elsevier Properties SA, has acquired the  publishing brands and businesses of Sheshunoff and A.S. Pratt from the Thompson Media Group. Financial details of the transaction are not being disclosed.

Widely known for its “how to” guides for compliance professionals, the Sheshunoff collection of publications includes more than 100 sheshunofftitles offering expert information critical for the financial services industry with a strong focus on federally regulated banking and credit union lending activities. The A.S. Pratt collection has established itself as the “gold standard” of analytical content for the banking and commercial practice areas and includes 40 industry-leading titles covering key legal and regulatory issues – including respected treatises, journals and newsletters such as the Banking Law Journal, Pratt’s LetterBrady on Bank Checks, Clark’s The Law of Secured Transactions, and others.

“Sheshunoff and A.S. Pratt are highly valued brands that have built a trusted reputation by featuring some of the country’s most respected and recognized legal authorities,” said Bob Romeo, CEO, Research & Litigation Solutions at LexisNexis. “The addition of this trusted practice area content to our portfolio, and our ability to offer them through multiple channels further cements the status of LexisNexis as a premier provider of holistic banking and compliance information and analytical content.”

Both collections will continue to be offered in print format. Additionally, LexisNexis intends to offer them through digital channels, including as eBooks and online.

Other acquisitions in the past year include Law360 legal news, Knowledge Mosaic securities content and services and Oxford University Press intellectual property titles.

USA, New York, NY

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