Keensight talks US expansion for Aconso

BGF rejects Archimed’s offer for Instem.

HR software is our opening topic this morning, as Craig McGlashan takes a Deep Dive into Keensight Capital’s investment in Aconso.

We then move on to an update on a take-private offer for a UK-listed healthcare company Instem, as BGF announced it is rejecting Archimed’s takeover offer for the business.

We have a bit of infrastructure to look at too, with HICL agreeing to dispose of a portfolio of five assets to John Laing, an international core infrastructure investor.

Data protection

My personal experience with the GDPR law revolved around receiving way too many emails regarding various websites’ updates on it. For HR software businesses however, integration of data laws can be used as an advantage, especially if the aim is to expand from Europe to US. Craig McGlashan caught up with Keensight Capital partner Yuri Mikhalev to discuss the firm’s investment in HR software business Aconso and plans to grow the company across the pond.

Keensight announced the investment in Aconso on 27 September. The growth investor took a majority stake, according to a source close to the deal.

International growth is now the goal, particularly in the US, where data protection laws are beginning to catch up on Europe, such as through the California Consumer Privacy Act, which as of the end of last year includes employee data.

“The direction of travel is very one sided,” Mikhalev said. “The world is headed towards more regulation in terms of data protection, not less. That’s something that gives European companies some first-mover advantage. We see huge potential for this product to take pretty much the entire world by storm.”

I highly recommend reading the full story to learn more about Aconso, its customer base and Keensight’s plans for the business. You can find the story here.


We’ve been following a great deal of take-private offers here on PE Hub Europe. This morning we have an interesting twist on one of them.

At the end of August, Instem, a workflow, data and IT product provider for the drug development sector, announced it has agreed terms on a recommended cash offer with healthcare private equity firm Archimed.

This morning, BGF, the second largest shareholder in Instem with 8.53 percent of the issued share capital, announced it is rejecting the takeover offer for Instem by Archimed. BGF is a London-based growth capital investor in the UK and Ireland. The firm has been an investor in Instem since June 2020.

The board’s rationale for the Archimed bid included “greater access to capital”. BGF rejected this assertion in its statement today.

BGF also stated that the price of the bid represents a discount to Instem’s peak price in 2021 (905p, on 20 September 2021), despite the “materially positive commercial and financial progress made by the business since that period”.

The bid announcement in August included a comment by Instem chair David Gare, stating the offer “represents an attractive valuation and offers shareholders the certainty of cash today”. BGF’s statement this morning said there was no pressure from BGF or any other shareholder, to pursue an exit of the business.

You can catch up on the Archimed bid here.


Lastly, we have an exit – or five of them – to look at. HICL Infrastructure, managed by InfraRed Capital Partners, has agreed to dispose of a portfolio of five assets to John Laing.

The total consideration for the transaction is around £204 million ($247.8 million; €235.7 million), representing a small premium to HICL’s last audited valuation for the relevant assets on 31 March.

The transaction proceeds will reduce the drawings on HICL’s revolving credit facility to around £130 million.

The portfolio consists of HICL’s entire equity interest in four UK PPP projects – Queens (Romford) Hospital, Oxford John Radcliffe Hospital, Priority Schools North East Batch and South Ayrshire Schools and half of its investment in the Hornsea II OFTO.

HICL will retain a 37.5 percent equity stake in Hornsea II OFTO.

“This accretive sale of a representative cross section of HICL’s portfolio further demonstrates the disconnect between public and private market valuations for high-quality infrastructure assets,” said Edward Hunt, head of core income funds at InfraRed. “Since 31 March, the company has realised over £300 million from asset disposals demonstrating effective capital recycling while enhancing key portfolio metrics and reducing gearing.”

London-based John Laing is an international core infrastructure investor.