NEW YORK — July 22, 2015 — Berkery Noyes, an independent mid-market investment bank, today released its half year 2015 mergers and acquisitions trend report for Private Equity in the Information Industry.
The report analyzes M&A in the private equity market for the first half of 2015 and compares it with activity in the four previous six-month periods from 2013 to 2014. It features transactions completed by financially sponsored acquirers within the Information Industry, including purchases through subsidiaries or platforms of private equity firms.
Deal volume increased 12 percent on a half-to-half year basis. Total value rose from $23.49 billion to $24.99 billion, a six percent gain. The peak for private equity volume during the past two-and-a-half years occurred in first half 2015, whereas value reached its zenith in first half 2014. The median revenue multiple improved from 1.8x to 2.5x, while the median EBITDA multiple declined from 16.8x to 14.5x.
The Information Industry’s most active financial sponsor in first half 2015 was Vista Equity Partners with 12 transactions. Based on publicly disclosed values, the largest of these deals was Vista’s acquisition of Powerschool, a web-based K-12 student information system, for $350 million.
Meanwhile, Marlin Equity Partners was another active private equity firm in the Software market with eight transactions year-to-date. This consisted of Resolution1Security and Fidelis Cybersecurity Solutions in the cyber-security subsector; e-MDs and HomecareCRM in the Healthcare IT sector; International Business Systems in the enterprise resource planning and supply chain subsectors; Arcplan, a business intelligence and corporate performance management company; Asentinel, a telecom expense management firm; and barometerIT, a provider of IT portfolio analysis solutions.
Regarding the horizontal Software market, private equity deal volume improved 11 percent. One high value deal in the security subsector was Bain Capital’s acquisition of Blue Coat Systems for $2.4 billion. Of note, an investor group led by Thoma Bravo previously took Blue Coat private in 2011 for $1.1 billion.
As for the Media and Marketing horizontal, private equity transaction value increased from 16 percent to 30 percent of total value. Notable secondary buyouts in the horizontal thus far in 2015 included GTCR and Adams Outdoor Advertising’s acquisition of Fairway Outdoor Advertising from Acon Investments for $575 million; Capmark Financial Group’s acquisition of Orchard Brands from Golden Gate Capital for $410 million; and Providence Equity Partners’ acquisition of Clarion Events from Veronis Suhler Stevenson for $307 million.
In terms of specific verticals, private equity volume in the Education market rose 38 percent in first half 2015, from 37 to 51 deals. Providence Equity Partners and The Riverside Company were the industry’s most active Education acquirers with three transactions each in the space year-to-date, which includes those either purchased directly or through an affiliated business.
Riverside acquired Health and Safety Institute, an emergency care and response training organization; C-Learning, an e-learning course developer; and Digital Ignite, a continuing education and social learning platform. Providence Equity acquired Remote-Learner UK, which provides hosting, support, consulting services to the education industry; Schoolwires, an educational website, hosting and content management provider to K-12 schools; and Endeavour College of Natural Health, a vocational training institution in the health and wellness sector.
Sponsored deal volume in the Finance vertical remained nearly constant over the past six months. However, activity the Capital Markets segment increased 38 percent, from 13 to 18 deals. BlackFin Capital Partners and Genstar Capital were the industry’s most active acquirers in the Finance vertical with three transactions each in the space year-to-date, which includes those either purchased directly or through an affiliated business.
Genstar acquired All Web Leads (AWL), a customer acquisition marketing business that serves the U.S. insurance industry; Financial Webworks (FWW), a provider of fund data and regulatory documentation to fund distributors; and Intelligent Financial Systems, a software company focused on financial data market research. BlackFin Capital Partners acquired SmartCo, an enterprise data management software company that serves financial institutions; AMfine Services and Software, which offers regulatory, tax, and financial reporting solutions to asset management companies; and Nexfi SAS, a provider of front and middle office management solutions to financial portfolio managers.
The largest private equity backed deal in the Capital Markets segment year-to-date was Bridepoint’s acquisition of eFront SA, a software solutions business focused on enterprise risk management and alternative investments, for $327 million.
“Strong balance sheets, less restrictive lending, and more plentiful private sellers are fueling deal activity,” said James Berkery, Chief Information Officer at Berkery Noyes. “Valuations have also been robust over the past few years, especially as financial sponsors compete with strategic acquires for companies that have attractive components such as recurring revenue models, high margins, continuous growth, diversified customer concentration, and proprietary technology in markets with a barrier to entry.”
A copy of the PRIVATE EQUITY IN THE INFORMATION INDUSTRY M&A REPORT FOR HALF YEAR 2015 is available at the Berkery Noyes website.