General Atlantic to buy majority stake in Argus Media, valued at $1.45b

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U.S. investment firm General Atlantic is to buy a majority stake in oil price reporting agency Argus Media in a deal valuing London-based Argus at nearly 1 billion pounds ($1.45 billion) and making dozens of employees potential millionaires.

Argus, which competes with news and pricing agencies such as McGraw Hill’s Platts, OPIS and Thomson Reuters, appointed Bank of America Merrill Lynch to seek outside investors last year after some existing shareholders said they wanted to sell.

Argus said on Monday members of the founding Nasmyth family who own 50 percent of the company will sell all their shares under the deal with General Atlantic but it is not yet clear how many staff shareholders will decide to cash in their holdings.

However, Executive Chairman and Publisher Adrian Binks will continue in the business and retain the “majority of his significant shareholding in the new structure alongside GeneralAtlantic“, Argus said in a statement.

The Nasmyth family owns over 18 million shares while Binks owns close to 10 million A and B class shares. He is the only shareholder with B shares, which give additional voting rights.

“It has been an incredible 46 years, with huge growth in the business driven by an exceptional team,” the Nasmyth family said in a statement.

Binks told Reuters that staff share and share option holders, which number over a fifth of a workforce of some 750, will have the opportunity of either selling all or some of their shares or remaining invested in the new structure.

“A lot will want to remain invested in the business. You won’t find a better place to put your money at the moment,” Binks said.

“We are clearly focused on trying to take market share from our main rival (Platts) and we’re going to under the new ownership structure be a lot more aggressive and forceful in doing that,” Binks said.

“The way we thought of this deal was a partnership … to provide continuity in the growth strategy but then also to bring focus and a little bit of expertise on how they can grow faster and be more ambitious and more global,” General Atlantic Managing Director Gabriel Caillaux told Reuters.

Caillaux added that the market for price reporting is still a growth market, making it ripe for investments.

Information provider IHS bought U.S. oil price reporting agency OPIS in a $650 million deal earlier this year.

Argus attracted over 60 prospective buyers and investors in the sale process, including U.S. buyout fund Hellman & Friedman, Singapore’s government-owned investor Temasek, the Rothschild Group, and competitors including IHS.

General Atlantic has a wide portfolio of investments from healthcare companies to Uber and online media company BuzzFeed Inc.

Argus Media’s sales increased by 15 percent in the 12 months to June 30 last year to 123 million pounds, and pretax profit rose by around 10 percent to 32.5 million.

The two businesses expect to complete the transaction within two months, subject to regulatory approval.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.