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Singapore's GIC sells stake in Acuris to Ireland's Ion Investment

By Asia Asset Management  
May 16, 2019

Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte Ltd and London-based private equity firm BC Partners are selling stakes in data firm Acuris to Irish software company Ion Investment, which owns data provider Dealogic.

BC Partners, which confirmed news reports of the deal in a statement on May 13, didn’t provide any more details other than that it will retain a minority interest in London-based Acuris, with Ion Investment holding a controlling stake.

GIC said in June 2017 that it had acquired a 30% stake in Acuris but did not disclose the purchase price.

According to a report in the Financial Times on May 12, GIC is selling off its entire stake, while BC Partners will retain a 25% interest. The private equity firm’s original shareholding in Acuris is unclear.

A Reuters report on May 13 said Ion Investment is acquiring the controlling stake in Acuris for £1.35 billion (US$1.74 billion), including debt.

Spokespersons for all four companies did not immediately respond to questions from Asia Asset Management (AAM).

A Singapore-based fund manager says GIC and Ion Investment will both benefit from the deal.

"Speculation was that GIC acquired Acuris at a valuation of £1 billion. If that's true, GIC may get return on investment of at least 30% in under two years – a good deal, especially during uncertain times like this," he tells AAM, speaking on condition of anonymity.

As for Ion Investment, he says the deal will help strengthen its financial data offerings in a world where “data is king”.

“With the growing amount of data, financial companies, more than ever, need tools and solutions to analyse and make sense of these data to gain an edge," he says.

Acuris, formerly known as Mergermarket Group, currently has close to 1,500 employees in 66 locations worldwide. BC Partners invested in the company in 2014.

BC Partners is "proud of the way Acuris has developed over the last five years into a leader in global financial intelligence, data and analytics, and see significant potential for further value creation", according to Nikos Stathopoulos, a partner in the private equity firm.

"Ion’s complementary capabilities, technologies and customers make it an ideal partner to support the next stage of Acuris’ growth,” Mr. Stathopoulos says in the statement.

Ion Investment Founder and Chief Executive Officer Andrea Pignataro adds that his firm looks forward to partnering with BC Partners to support “growth and development" of Acuris.

"Together, ION and Acuris will continue to deliver innovative, differentiated intelligence and solutions to financial institutions and corporations," he says.

UBS Investment Bank was the exclusive financial adviser to Ion Investment in the deal. JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs were financial advisers to Acuris.