Chinese buyout firm XIO Group nears deal to acquire J.D. Power for over $1b

XIO Group, a China-based buyout firm, is close to an agreement to acquire J.D. Power and Associates, a unit of McGraw Hill Financial Inc for more than $1 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

XIO Group prevailed over private equity firm Advent International Corp in the auction for J.D. Power, which is best known for its car quality and reliability ratings, the people said on Thursday.

The people asked not to be named because the deal had not yet been announced. McGraw Hill Financial and Advent declined to comment, while a representative for XIO Group did not return a request for comment.

The deal for J.D. Power is the latest example of Chinese money going after an iconic American brand. Earlier this year, China’s Dalian Wanda Group agreed to acquire Legendary Entertainment, a U.S. movie studio company behind films such as “The Dark Knight” and “Jurassic World”, for $3.5 billion.

XIO Group has $5 billion under management and is based in Shanghai, Hong Kong and London. The firm “seeks to leverage its unique global access with an emphasis on Asia and China,” according to its website.

This would be one of the largest deals ever for XIO Group.

McGraw Hill Financial said last year it had hired Morgan Stanley to assist with the sale process for the unit, which had annual revenues of about $350 million. Morgan Stanley declined to comment.

J.D. “Dave” Power and his wife Julie started the eponymous company in 1968 from their home in Calabasas, California, and later landed Toyota Motor Corp as their first client.

While J.D. Power’s roots are in its car research, its annual customer satisfaction surveys measure a range of industries, from credit cards to hotel loyalty programs and cable companies, and are often cited in advertisements and commercials.

The company now employs 7,000 analysts, statisticians, consultants and other experts in 12 offices globally. McGraw Hill Financial, which now has a market capitalization of $25.5 billion, bought J.D. Power in 2005 for an undisclosed sum.

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.

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

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  • 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.