Providence acquires CloserStill Media for £340M

Providence EquityFollowing our earlier report, Providence Equity Partners has now acquired CloserStill Media, the previous owner of Clarion Events, for a reported £340 million.

The move comes after years of significant growth for the organiser, which was valued at £25 million in 2012 when Phoenix Private Equity bought into the company and £125 million in 2015 when Inflexion bought a minority stake.

Since the Inflexion investment in 2015 the organiser has made eight acquisitions – five in 2017 and three in 2018 – but CloserStill Chairman and CEO Phil Soar highlighted that the majority of the company’s growth has been organic. Much of the growth has come from the geo-cloning of successful shows in Asia, Germany and the US, with the launch of events such as Cloud Asia, Learning Technologies Germany and New York Vet.

In 2011 Providence acquired George Little Management in the US, which was then sold to Emerald Expositions in early 2014. In 2017 the company sold Clarion Events to Blackstone for a reported £600 million.

Andrew Tisdale, Managing Director at Providence, said, “CloserStill is an exceptional business led by a strong management team with a proven track record of developing and acquiring successful events around the world. With a compelling global portfolio and diverse customer base across the technology, learning and healthcare sectors, CloserStill is well-positioned to accelerate the momentum the business has generated to date. We are excited to partner with such a fantastic team and look forward to working together.”

USA, Providence, RI & UK, London

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Providence exhibits £300m bid for London Vet Show owner

Providence EquityProvidence Equity Partners , the private equity firm behind Ambassador Theatre Group, is in talks to buy exhibitions group CloserStill Media for about £300m, according to a report by Sky News.

CloserStill is being sold by Inflexion, another buyout firm, which backed the company in 2015. A significant proportion of CloserStill’s revenues come from outside the UK, with exhibitions such as Dentiste Expo in Paris and Cloud Expo Asia in Singapore among its events. The deal with Providence, which could be signed within weeks, follows the investor’s £600m sale of Clarion to Blackstone last year.


USA, Providence, RI & UK, London

Bowmark and Five Arrows acquire Autodata


Bowmark Capital, the mid-market private equity firm, and Five Arrows Principal Investments, the private equity fund of the Rothschild Group, have acquired Autodata Publishing Group, Europe’s leading provider of technical information to the automotive aftermarket, for an enterprise value of £143 million.

Autodata publishes technical information on 17,000 vehicle models from 80 manufacturers.  Its products provide over 80,000 professional workshops with access to a comprehensive suite of up-to-date technical data and guidance on cars, light commercial vehicles and motorcycles, enabling them to carry out service, repair and diagnostic work.

The company was founded in 1975 by Richard Atherton and Dietmar Otto, is headquartered in Maidenhead and employs approximately 190 staff.

Repair and maintenance information has become increasingly important to automotive professionals, due to the growing complexity of modern cars, increasing model proliferation and the introduction of new technologies.

With its strong product range, and the high quality, breadth and accuracy of its data, Autodata has established itself as the leading supplier of essential technical information to the professional automotive aftermarket in Europe.  The company is well-positioned for future growth, driven by the continued enhancement of its content and information systems, increased penetration of new territories in both Europe and beyond, and further expansion into diagnostic applications.

Bowmark partner, Julian Masters, said:  “Autodata has an outstanding reputation in its marketplace.  Its products provide ’must have’ information to one of Europe’s most important industries, providing the mechanic with an invaluable work-flow tool across the entire European car fleet.  We are delighted to have this opportunity to work with the management on the next exciting stage in the company’s development.”

Javed Khan, co-managing partner of Five Arrows, said: “The market opportunity for Autodata is compelling, based on the further development of its content and delivery channels, and there is also significant scope for geographic expansion.  We have been greatly impressed with the achievements of Rod and his management team, and look forward to working with them in the next phase of Autodata’s growth, in partnership with Bowmark Capital.”

UK, London & Maidenhead, Kent

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ACTIVE Network to be acquired by Vista Equity Partners.

activenetworkEvent management software maker ACTIVE Network is being acquired by private equity firm Vista Equity Partners.

Vista will commence a tender offer to acquire all of Active Network’s common stock for $14.50 a share. That represents a 27.2% premium to Active Network’s Friday closing, the most recent trading day. Active’s board endorsed the offer, recommending that all stockholders tender their shares. This values the deal at $904 million. Any shares not tendered will be acquired in a second-step merger at the same cash price as the original offer.

vistaep“ACTIVE Network’s leadership position in cloud-based Activity and Participant Management™ (APM) solutions make it a highly attractive investment for us,” said Robert F. Smith, CEO and founder of Vista Equity Partners.  “We are looking forward to working with the ACTIVE team and continuing to drive the next phase of ACTIVE’s growth.”

  • Citi is serving as financial advisor to ACTIVE. 
  • BofA Merrill Lynch is serving as financial advisor to Vista.  
  • DLA Piper LLP (US) is acting as ACTIVE’s legal advisor. 
  • Kirkland & Ellis LLP is acting as Vista’s legal advisor. 
  • BofA Merrill Lynch, RBC Capital Markets, and BMO Capital Markets Corp. have agreed to provide debt financing in connection with the transaction.

ACTIVE Network plans to release its third quarter earnings after market close on Wednesday, October 30, 2013.

USA, San Francisco, CA & San Diego, CA 

Permira acquires for $1.6 billion

According to the Wall Streert Journal, European private-equity firm Permira is buying genealogy website for $1.6 billion. has more than two million subscribers who pay at least $12.95 a month for its content and online tools. The purchase price is $32 a share and it includes vesting of outstanding options. The price is a 40 percent premium from the price when word of the company being offered for sale surfaced in June. As a result of the deal, will carry  ”just under $1 billion” in debt.

The buyout group includes the private-equity firm’s co-investors; members of’s management, including Chief Executive Tim Sullivan and Chief Financial Officer Howard Hochhauser; and Spectrum Equity, which owns about 30 percent of

USA, Utah & UK, London

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