It was a busy day yesterday for the private equity group Hellman and Friedman. H&F announced that they were to acquire the majority stake in Wood Mackenzie, or ‘WoodMac’ and that they were pushing ahead with the $4 billion sale of Getty Images Inc.
H&F bought it’s majority stake in Getty back in 2008 in a $2.4 billion deal. Whilst private equity firms like Bain Capital LLC have balked at the $4 billion price expectation others are still in the ring and in the second round.
Though Getty has seen small growth in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization since Hellman first purchased it, its online imagery services have been in increasing demand. This could lead, some hope, to Getty fetching a higher EBITDA valuation multiple.
In the previous two years, Getty’s shareholders have reaped $504 million dividend followed by a $379 million dividend.
Whilst H&F is selling its majority stake in Getty Images Inc. it is also buying a majority stake in one of the world’s leading energy consultancies, Wood Mackenzie. An insider reported that H&F would aim to list WoodMac in the US in the next few years and would further expand its business through acquisitions.
Having been found in the 1840’s by a Scottish stockbroker, it was in 1970’s that Wood Mackenzie started reviewing the North Sea oilfields and consequently evolved into becoming a global analyst for the energy industry. WoodMac, according to its website, has grown significantly in the last few years and currently employs around 650 staff making it one of the largest commercial research and consulting companies in the world with more than 20 offices worldwide.
H&F had already attempted to buy out WoodMac back in 2009 when it was successfully sold out to Charterhouse for £550million. WoodMac’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization are forecast at just under £90m this year and more than £100m in 2013 fitting with its plans to hire an additional 115 staff.