Parent of Dealreporter, Mergermarket sold for $1.7 billion
Ion Group, the Irish software and data company, is buying Acuris – which owns Mergermarket, Debtwire and other financial-information products – from BC Partners for $1.7 billion, including debt.
Liam Proud of Reuters Breakingviews reports, “The private-equity group bought the main business for 382 million pounds in 2013 from publishing group Pearson, which in turn paid Mergermarket’s founders and other shareholders about 101 million pounds, plus earnouts, for the company back in 2006.
“It looks like a tidy sale for BC, which has made about five times its initial investment – including a partial sale to Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC in 2017 – according to a person familiar with the deal. That’s well above the rule of thumb that says private equity firms need to double their money in five years to please investors. Under the buyout group’s ownership, the company’s revenue has grown at a compound annual average rate of about 13 percent, boosted by acquisitions of smaller financial-information services, according to a Breakingviews analysis of corporate filings.
“That growth helps justify the toppy-looking acquisition multiple of more than 20 times trailing EBITDA, according to a person familiar with the deal. Ratings agencies like Moody’s Corp and S&P Global trade at about 19 times EBITDA, while companies selling capital markets information change hands at about 16 times, using Refinitiv data. Refinitiv itself was valued at about 13 times in the recent sale to Blackstone Group by Thomson Reuters, owner of Breakingviews, Credit Suisse analysts reckon.”
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