7 takeaways from Cision going public

Having trouble keeping up with Cision? Here's a breakdown of what's happening with the PR services company.

7 takeaways from Cision going public

CHICAGO: Cision has gone public.

Its merger with blank check company Capitol Acquisition Group III (CLAC) was completed Thursday. Starting Friday, the PR services provider is trading on the New York Stock Exchange as CISN. CLAC will cease to exist.

Cision CEO Kevin Akeroyd said the company will continue to invest in strengthening its global position. It plans to invest in its integrated platform, Cision Communications Cloud; its data offering, Cision Data ID; and large-scale integration with marketing through Cision Connect.

PRWeek caught up with Akeroyd to talk about why he feels bullish about its prospects as a public company with a $2.4 billion enterprise valuation. Cision will have 120 million shares with an estimated price of $10 per share.

Why go public now?
"It’s to simply add both the capital infusion as well as access to the public market currency to fuel innovation at an adequate pace," Akeroyd said. "It’s that simple."

"With more capital, we can invest faster and more aggressively for more innovation and fill the need for our customers faster," he added.

GTCR still has say
The private equity firm will retain 100% of the majority ownership. It bought Cision and combined it with Vocus in 2014. Meanwhile, the former Capitol Acquisition Group gains 32% equity.

What was CLAC?
CLAC was what the pros call a "special purpose acquisition company." Basically, it’s a financial vehicle that’s made up of a pile of cash from investors. In this case, that vehicle is being used to invest in Cision so it can go public. The organizations with money dumped into CLAC include 40 institutional investors, such as T. Rowe Price, Baron Capital, Pennant Capital, and Janus. It’s led by chairman and CEO Mark Ein and president and CFO Dyson Dryden.

Akeroyd says this isn’t a pivot: 'It’s just more gas in the tank'
"The window is now. The need [for services] is so acute. This is a migraine that has been throbbing for 16 years. Thank God, there’s finally this medicine for the migraine."

Cision has used $2 billion to acquire eight companies. Is it finally done shopping?
Not quite. Akeroyd said Cision will acquire "opportunistically" to deliver value to shareholders: "If we can buy company at X and we’re traded at Y, that’s just makes financial sense."

Akeroyd said Cision no longer has to acquire companies to fulfill its vision
"We no longer have to buy another piece to deliver the vision," he said. "Acquiring opportunistically because you can and not because you have to is the wonderful place we find ourselves in now."

Who’s in charge?
Cision’s management team, led by Akeroyd and CFO Jack Pearlstein. Also, Capitol’s shareholders elected seven directors to serve on the board with Mark Anderson as chairman and Ein as vice chairman. The board also includes Akeroyd, Philip Canfield, Dryden, Stephen Master, and Stuart Yarbrough.

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