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GIC, BC Partners to sell majority stake in Acuris to Ion in £1.35b deal

IRISH software firm Ion Group is buying a majority stake in financial intelligence firm, Acuris, from private equity firm BC Partners, and Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC. The deal is said to be worth some £1.35 billion (S$2.39 billion), FT reported, citing people with knowledge of the transaction. 

Acuris, formerly known as Mergermarket Group, was acquired by BC Partners via a carve-out from publishing group, Pearson, for £382 million (S$678 million) in 2013. In June 2017, BC Partners divested a 30 per cent stake in Acuris to GIC.

As part of the deal, BC Partners will retain a minority 25 per cent stake in Acuris, while GIC will sell its entire interest in the company, FT said. 

With nearly 1,500 employees in 66 locations worldwide, Acuris is a global financial information provider with a diversified base of investor, advisory and corporate clients, the company said in a press statement on Monday. It provides proprietary insights and analytics across six key financial areas: fixed income, transactions, equities, compliance, infrastructure and research.

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Among other contenders gunning for Acuris previously, Credit ratings agency Moody's emerged as one of the strongest, after Fitch pulled out of the bidding for the London-based company, which operates the Mergermarket and Debtwire news and data services, media reports show.

Nikos Stathopoulos, partner at BC Partners and chairman of Acuris, said: "When we invested in Acuris in 2014, we saw an opportunity to accelerate its growth and to build a strong franchise... We invested significantly in Acuris' technology platform, expanded geographically, launched new products, content and data sets and executed nine accretive acquisitions, which have allowed us to create new product divisions.

"Ion's complementary capabilities, technologies and customers make it an ideal partner to support the next stage of Acuris' growth."

UBS Investment Bank acted as exclusive financial adviser to Ion, and provided committed financing in support of this deal. JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs also served as financial advisers to Acuris on the transaction.