Singapore’s GIC plans to acquire 30% of Mergermarket Group

Shiwen Yap

July 2, 2017

Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund (SWF) GIC is set to acquire a 30 per cent interest in London-based financial news and data company Mergermarket Group. The purchase is said to deliver BC Partners a return of more than two times its original investment.

According to sources familiar with the matter, GIC has valued Mergermarket at about £1 billion ($1.31 billion) and is currently in a state of advanced discussions. The development was initially reported by Sky News.

Incepted in 2000, Mergermarket has expanded to 67 locations across the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East and has a subscriber base of 190,000, with news and data about mergers and acquisitions to more specialised information.

Mergermarket was formerly a unit of The Financial Times Group. It was acquired by private equity firm BC Partners from Pearson in a deal worth £380 million in 2013, prior to parting from The Financial Times in 2015 to focus on its core education business. It later sold its publication, Financial Times, to the Nikkei Asian Review. 

The disposal of its stake in Mergermarkets to GIC will help BC partners reduce its exposure and also raise cash to fund  Mergermarket’s expansion, which has engaged in a number of add-on acquisitions to expand its portfolio beyond M&A news and data.

This has seen it purchase media brands such as Hong Kong-based Asia Venture Capital Journal and Unquote from Incisive Media, with a focus on building its presence in the private equity and venture capital news space.

According to media reports, BC Partners had approached Chinese media group Caixin about a potential sale of Mergermarket, but the deal fell through as Caixin could not secure sufficient financing.

In May 2016, Argus Media, an oil price reporting agency, was acquired by US investment firm General Atlantic. This is the second European deal in June for GIC, which recently purchased a 12 per cent stake in Norwegian software firm Visma.

BC Partners will continue to retain more than 60 per cent in the Mergermarket Group following the transaction. One of Mergermarket’s products includes Debtwire.