UPDATED. The financial data aggregation sector is attracting more and more private equity interest, with Motive Partners announcing this morning that it had acquired a majority stake in With Intelligence.
We then take a look at some regulatory news coming out of the US that could affect roll-up strategies.
Private equity interest in the financial data sector is heating up, with Motive Partners acquiring a majority stake in With Intelligence, a provider of investment data and intelligence for allocating, fundraising, and business development in the public and private markets.
With Intelligence is based in London. The company’s revenue has had compound annual growth of 33 percent “in recent years”, according to a release.
“We are positioned at the intersection of two exciting trends – the increase of allocations towards alternatives and the emergence of exciting new analytics and AI technologies to derive insights within the sector,” said Neil Cochrane, partner at Motive, in the release.
The deal is for £400 million ($516 million; €461 million).
Intermediate Capital Group (ICG) will invest further in With Intelligence alongside Motive. ICG initially invested in With Intelligence – then called Pageant Media – in 2020. Under ICG’s backing, the firm acquired CAMRADATA, a data and analysis service for institutional investors, from Punter Southall in January.
Motive and ICG will support With Intelligence to accelerate its data strategy and technology capabilities, grow the private markets offerings, and execute the next phase of the partnership and M&A strategies, the release said.
The deal comes hot on the heels of Nordic Capital agreeing to sell Macrobond, a provider of financial data, to Francisco Partners. You can learn more about Nordic’s exit, including the deal size and return on investment, in Nina Lindholm’s interview with Nordic partner Emil Anderson from earlier this week.
Other activity in the sector includes Astorg completing the demerger of Fastmarkets, a price reporting agency for the metals, mining, forest products, energy transition and agriculture markets, from Delinian in June. Astorg and Epiris acquired Delinian – then named Euromoney Institutional Investor – in a take-private deal last year.
I want to finish on something happening in the US but may have repercussions in Europe.
The US Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have released draft guidelines that address issues in the merger market that could impact competition.
You can see the list of guidelines on the FTC website, but I wanted to draw particular attention to number 9:
When a merger is part of a series of multiple acquisitions, the agencies may examine the whole series.
That looks to me like the agencies have rolling-up – a popular private equity practice – in their sights.
Now while this is all happening in the US, antitrust concerns are also surfacing over here, and where either the US or Europe goes, the other often follows.
As an antitrust lawyer told me when we were looking at the rival bids for Finnish construction company Caverion from Bain Capital and Triton Partners – where Bain raised competition concerns about Triton’s offer: “You’ve had this discussion, primarily in the US, about private equity and potential harm that’s being done… In Europe we’ve not had the same type of statements coming out of the European Commission, but one can always say that when topics come up on either side of the Pond, it’s usually only a matter of time until that starts on the corresponding side.”
The scrutiny on mergers that are “part of a series” – in the US agencies’ parlance – might be particularly difficult timewise. That’s because factors such as the rising cost of financing have been pushing private equity firms more and more to add-on deals rather than platform investments, as we covered in the Dealflow yesterday when looking at a new report from CMBOR, the Centre for Private Equity and MBO Research.
Editor’s note. This story was updated to confirm the size of the Motive Partners and With Intelligence deal.