Evanta Ventures, Inc. and an affiliated business (collectively “Evanta”), a leading peer-to-peer leadership platform for Fortune 1000 C-suite executives, which are owned primarily by Leeds Equity Partners, LLC, have been acquired by CEB (NYSE: CEB), a best practice insight and technology company, for total cash consideration of $275 million.
JEGI CLARITY (www.jegiclarity.com), the leading independent investment bank for the global media, information, marketing, software and tech-enabled services sectors, headquartered in New York, NY, represented Evanta in this transaction.
Portland, Ore.-based Evanta fosters collaboration and the exchange of best practices between Information Technology & Security, Human Resources and Finance leaders through nearly 200 annual events, online and offline learning platforms and subscription information offerings. Accessible through regional, national, global, and virtual platforms, the company helps leaders drive corporate outcomes and improve their own performance. Evanta currently engages nearly 12,000 executives annually, including representatives from more than 90% of the Fortune 100 and 80% of the Fortune 500. Over the last several years, Evanta achieved annual revenue growth in the mid-teens with a 2015 EBITDA margin in excess of 35%.
“In an era of unprecedented technological, economic and global change, we believe that trust and cooperation among leaders is key to innovation and economic success,” said Evanta Founder and CEO, Bob Dethlefs. “The strength of Evanta’s ‘by CXOs for CXOs’ model is greatly enhanced by the proven practices and data-based insights CEB brings to executives worldwide. We’re excited to continue to forge strong communities of premiere leaders while providing a new level of visibility into—and solutions for—global business challenges as part of CEB.”
“CEB’s mission calls on us to unlock the potential of leaders and organizations by advancing the science and practice of management. Adding Evanta helps us do just that,” said CEB Chairman & CEO, Tom Monahan. “We have partnered with the Evanta team across the years and have been consistently impressed by their growth-oriented business model and their ‘by CXOs for CXOs’ philosophy. We value the strong local executive networks they’ve built—particularly their relationships with Governing Board members and underwriting partners.”
Evanta is expected to complement and enhance CEB’s business both strategically and operationally:
• Evanta’s business model has demonstrated similarly attractive characteristics to those of CEB—strong growth, high revenue visibility and attractive margins
• Evanta adds scale and improves the economics of CEB’s burgeoning events and leadership development businesses
• It allows CEB to enter an addressable market of $1B by providing sponsorship and content licensing platforms to engage high-caliber underwriting partners
• The combination enables CEB to deepen relationships with CXOs and senior professionals in turn exposing them to a wider variety of CEB offerings
• Evanta’s experienced team grows CEB’s top-decile talent base and can accelerate innovative product and service delivery
Tom Monahan said, “We see real synergies between CEB and Evanta that we believe will create near and long-term value for clients, partners, colleagues and shareholders. We anticipate immediate tangible cost benefit from having the businesses on a single platform, including consolidating event technology and learning technology platforms. Obviously, we see a rich set of opportunities to expand the relationship of Evanta community members by introducing them over time to relevant CEB resources. We also see real opportunity to leverage CEB resources to add new events in key functional areas, such as sales. Most importantly, we see strong cultural synergies between our organizations. Both companies are guided by the idea that the best offerings are those designed by the customer and that you have to earn the right to work with those customers every day through exceptional service and a commitment to innovation.”
The acquisition will be accretive to Non-GAAP diluted earnings per share in the first full year of ownership, with accretion increasing over time as anticipated synergies are realized. The transaction is structured to enable CEB to benefit from certain of Evanta’s cash tax attributes with a present value of approximately $20 million. Net of the present value of these cash tax benefits the purchase price represents a 12x multiple of Evanta’s current forecast of full year 2016 EBITDA on a stand-alone, pre-synergy basis. CEB will update its 2016 Outlook to incorporate the expected incremental contribution from Evanta.
CEB will fund the acquisition using up to $200 million of incremental term loan borrowings under its existing senior secured credit agreement (the “Credit Facility”). The remaining amount will come from CEB’s available cash and/or borrowings of revolving commitments under the Credit Facility.
I have now completed my fourth successful transaction with JEGI CLARITY. Every time, we interviewed competitive firms and always concluded JEGI CLARITY is the best in the business. They know their markets inside and out and are strategic, creative, tenacious and results oriented. Most importantly, they have always added significant value and delivered outstanding results. You won’t often find a company that works with the same investment banker on four separate occasions, where each time the investment banker exceeded expectations. I can honestly say that JEGI CLARITY goes above and beyond to deliver the desired results for their customers.
Bob Dethlefs, Founder and CEO, Evanta