Investis snapped up in £50 mn deal

Dec 09, 2014
<p><span>Private equity firm ECI Partners to provide support and additional capital</span></p>

Digital corporate communications firm Investis has been acquired by ECI Partners, a UK private equity group, in a deal thought to be worth around £50 mn ($78 mn).

ECI focuses its investments on companies it believes have the potential for high growth, particularly those in the business services, industrials, healthcare and consumer sectors. This strategy has seen it sell more than 90 investments with a total value of more than £2.8 bn since 1990.

The firm says it will offer Investis ‘support and additional capital’ in order to accelerate the communication company’s global growth strategy. David Grigson, the former Reuters CFO who joined Investis in November 2013, will remain as chairman at the firm, as will CEO of two years Helen James.

‘Investis has made great strides since Helen took over as CEO two years ago, and is now a bigger, better and more international business,’ says Grigson of the company’s recent progress. ‘We are delighted ECI has chosen to invest in the company’s continuing growth.’

James adds that she is ‘very pleased’ to work with the private equity firm. ‘[ECI has] a strong track record supporting fast-growing, innovative companies in tech-enabled business services,’ she explains. ‘We are making significant inroads in the US and have expanded our European business through our recent acquisitions of global3digital and Alert IR.’

Investis was last acquired in October 2012 by Gresham, another private equity firm, in a deal believed to be worth around £25 mn. That acquisition allowed the communications firm to grow quickly and make a number of key acquisitions, including the purchase of Morningstar’s investor relations services.

A press release from ECI notes that Investis intends to continue its overseas operations in particular, after making a few foreign acquisitions last year. One of these, the aforementioned takeover of Alert IR, gave the company a tangible presence in Scandinavia with 100 new clients in the area, including many of the largest Stockholm-listed companies. Richard Chapman, partner at ECI, says he is ‘delighted’ by the potential of the partnerships formed through the deal.

Investis was helped throughout the transaction by Clarity, a corporate finance advisory firm that specializes in media and technology, and which has overseen a number of similar deals, including Computershare’s similarly large sale of Australian transfer agency Pepper.

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