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.