Benchmark takes Alphyra private

Benchmark Capital has completed its first public-to-private deal with the E88m acquisition of Irish electronic transactions company Alphyra.

Seven months after talks emerged of a possible deal, Benchmark Capital has revealed the terms of an E88.5m public-to-private acquisition of Alphyra, an Irish electronic payments company based in Dublin.

 

Benchmark, traditionally an investor in early-stage investments in technology companies, first confirmed its interest in Alphyra with a E2.45 per share offer for the business in late December. The firm was originally approached by Alphyra management about backing an offer for the company earlier last year.

 

Following the announcement of Benchmark’s E2.45 indicative offer, US technology group First Data made a preliminary bid of E2.80 per share and said that talks between the two companies were “advanced.” At the height of the technology boom, Alphyra was trading at E22 per share.

 

The likelihood of an offer from First Data subsided when the company merged with US company Concord EFS in a $7bn deal in April. In February, Benchmark upped its offer to a final E2.70, which was eventually accepted by shareholders.

 

Bank of Scotland Corporate Banking, together with IIB Bank (part of KBC Bank and Insurance Group), provided debt finance totalling E53.5m in support of the deal, with Benchmark Capital and the management team providing the equity. Benchmark is investing from its Benchmark Europe I fund, which initially raised $750m but was reduced to $500m last May.

 

Management are being led by John Nagle, the CEO and founder, and includes includes John Williamson as financial director. Barry Maloney, a partner at Benchmark, joins the board. “This is our first public-to-private deal but we were impressed by the company’s management team,” said Maloney, speaking in December. “Our interest in PTPs is purely opportunity-driven – it is not a change of direction for the business.”

 

The Irish technology market was also the subject of a private equity backed transaction earlier this when Alchemy Partners backed a $376m buyout of Riverdeep, the Irish educational software company.