EQT scores 3x return on Bureau van Dijk sale

 The modernisation of the business intelligence firm’s management team was the bedrock for value growth, according to EQT.   

Swedish private equity firm EQT has sold Bureau van Dijk (BvD), a global provider of business intelligence and company information, for €3 billion, according to a statement from the firm.

The business was acquired by Moody’s Corporation. Although the original acquisition price was never officially disclosed, Private Equity International understands that it was around €1 billion. EQT declined to comment on returns. 

The sale will generate a strong return for investors in the 2011-vintage EQT VI, which closed on €4.82 billion. 

 According to EQT partner Kristiaan Nieuwenburg, who led the deal, the transformation of BvD began with a reorganisation of the management structure. The company was led from the top, with a large number of functions reporting directly to the CEO. EQT put in place a deputy CEO, a global sales head, a production head and chief technology officer. It also fleshed out the human resources and legal departments to create a more efficient, robust structure.

 “It had become a very large ‘small’ company,” Nieuwenburg says. “EQT helped them make the switch to a mid-sized ‘large’ company.”

 Major investments were also made in the firm’s sales technology platform, its marketing and branding, and on product development.

 BvD’s platform provides information on more than 220 million private companies worldwide and sources information from more than 160 third-party providers.

According to a presentation by Moody’s, the acquisition will allow it to expand its analytical capabilities among small- and medium-sized enterprises. The integration of BvD’s platform will also help strengthen its loan origination, risk management and regulatory reporting systems.

Moody’s expects the acquisition to achieve $45 million in annual synergy-related gains by 2019 and $80 million by 2021, in part by helping expand BvD’s reach beyond its European base.

 EQT has made a few high-profile acquisitions and exits in the data collection and analysis space. In 2013, EQT and Singapore state-owned GIC Special Investments sold Springer Science + Business Media to BC Partners for €3.3 billion. In 2014 it bought a 39 percent stake in Sportradar, a sports analytics company, and a 56 percent stake in StormGeo, which analyses weather data to give specific forecasts for workers in the oil and gas industry.

 Nieuwenburg sees more potential in this sector, among high-tech big data players but also among traditional companies that are trying to transform their digital operations. 

 “We see it as a very interesting sector where our specialised experience can really be useful,” says Nieuwenburg. “There aren’t that many [targets] of the size of Bureau van Dijk available, but there are quite a few smaller ones that are growing fast.” 

BvD’s platform provides information on more than 220 million private companies worldwide and sources information from more than 160 third-party providers.