Platinum Equity affiliate to acquire Cision for $2.74b

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of next year.

Cision CEO Kevin Akeroyd

CHICAGO: An affiliate of private equity firm Platinum Equity has agreed to acquire Cision for $2.74 billion. 

Platinum Equity would acquire all outstanding shares of Cision for $10 per share in cash, representing a 34% premium over Cision’s stock over a 60-day period ending on October 21, according to a statement from the companies.

The deal is expected to close in Q1 2020 after Cision shareholders convene. GTCR, which took the company public in 2017, is planning to vote in favor of the acquisition, the companies said in a statement. 

If the deal is approved, Cision will be a wholly owned entity of the Platinum Equity affiliate. Cision may solicit acquisition proposals from other companies until November 12, the companies said. Cision’s $2.74 billion price tag represents a revenue multiple of about 3.75 times of the company’s 2018 global revenue of $730.4 million, which was up 2% year-over-year.

Platinum Equity partner Jacob Kotzubei said in a statement that the company will "nurture" Cision and "drive new opportunities for innovation."

"As a private company, Cision will be able to make strategic investments for sustainable and profitable growth, while remaining agile and focused on operational excellence. We are excited to partner with Cision's management team as it embarks on this new chapter," Kotzubei added.

Cision CEO Kevin Akeroyd said in a statement that the deal "will provide shareholders with immediate and substantial cash value, while also providing us with a partner that shares in our commitment to customers and employees and can add a strategic and operational value."

In March, Reuters reported that Cision was in discussions with private equity firms about a possible sale. 

Cision has bought a dozen companies, including PR Newswire, Gorkana, and TrendKite since the combination of Cision and Vocus in 2014, consolidating much of the marketing products and tools category. Cision has been a public company for two years after it merged with blank check company Capitol Acquisition Group III.

Cision’s Q2 revenue increased by 1.6% year-over-year to $190.5 million, alongside a 20.8% decline in operating income to $17.6 million and a net loss in the quarter of $7.8 million.

In August, Cision and Edelman agreed to a partnership giving the agency access to exclusive data, including more than 5,000 demographic and firmographic attributes. For Edelman, the deal is an opportunity to offer better insights and to build products on top of the Cision data, or mix its own assets with those of Cision to offer white-label versions for clients. For Cision, it could enable greater technology adoption in the PR industry. 

Communications technology, which includes media monitoring, social media analysis and other critical intelligence software, is a $4.1 billion industry, according Burton-Taylor International Consulting. Corporations and agencies have increased their spending on the burgeoning space as the technology matures.

Cision and GTCR have poured more than $2.25 billion into acquiring competitors with complementary technologies to build out its capabilities, enter geographies and consolidate its position. It’s rolled up 12 companies total, with Burton-Taylor citing Cision as by far the largest PR technology company. 

This story was updated on October 22 with additional information. 

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