Axa IM Alts exits data centre operator to Brookfield; Waterland portfolio firm makes add-on

Waterland Private Equity-backed mrge has acquired SourceKnowledge, an ad network for publishers.

This morning we’ve got a couple of deals to report. First, Axa IM Alts is exiting a data centre firm to Brookfield Infrastructure Partners. Then we take a look at a Waterland Private Equity-backed portfolio firm making an add-on.

Finally, we catch up on the latest on the move by Providence Equity Partners and Searchlight Capital Partners to take conference organiser Hyve Group private, as the two announce financing plans for the deal.

Data exit

Axa IM Alts has agreed to sell Data4, a data centre operator and investor, to Brookfield Infrastructure Partners.

Data4 is based in Paris, France. Axa IM Alts acquired Data4 in 2018.

Data4’s portfolio has increased to 31 data centres across six countries with 850MW secured power under Axa IM Alts’ ownership, according to a release.

This transaction will be Brookfield’s first major entry into the European data centre market, the release added.

Ad network

Waterland Private Equity-backed mrge has acquired SourceKnowledge, an ad network for publishers.

SourceKnowledge is based in Montreal, Canada.

SourceKnowledge will operate as a member of mrge which includes digidip, shopping24, and Yieldkit, according to a release.

Mrge is led by CFO Michael von Stern and CTO Nils Grabbert.

Mrge is a commerce advertising platform based in Hamburg, Germany.


Next, a little bit of a catch-up on one of the take-private bids we’ve been following.

Heron UK Bidco, a company formed by US private equity firm Providence Equity Partners (and in which Searchlight Capital Partners later took a 40 percent stake) to take UK conference organiser Hyve Group private, announced late last week that it had entered into a financing commitment with Hayfin Capital Management.

The board of Hyve agreed an offer of 108p per share with the Bidco in mid-March, which would value Hyve at approximately £320 million ($389 million; €363 million) on a fully diluted basis and £481 million on an enterprise value basis.

With financing a much different prospect than over the last decade thanks to rising rates in the last 12 months and the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in March, we’ll be following the capital structures of deals in depth.

While Providence and Searchlight look to be going the private debt route, Aurelius Private Equity was able to rely on a more traditional option for its carveout of LSG Group International from Deutsche Lufthansa last week, founding partner Dirk Markus told me at the time.

“We managed to get a classic bank financing that has some ABL component as well as a cash-based component,” said Markus.

But he added: “Would financing have been easier a year ago? Definitely. Easier and cheaper. This is a larger midcap, those can be done. If this business was five times as large, would we have been able to finance it? I’m not sure.”

Other deals have used novel payment structures. Another carveout, Regent’s acquisition of Pearson Online Learning Services (POLS) from publisher Pearson, had a deferred payment where Pearson will receive 27.5 percent of POLS’ positive adjusted EBITDA in each calendar year for a period of six years from completion of the transaction.

Pearson will receive a further contingent payment equal to 27.5 percent of the proceeds in relation to any monetisation event of POLS.