London, 27 January 2023 – Acuity Knowledge Partners (“Acuity”), a leading provider of high-value research, analytics and business intelligence to the financial services sector, today announces that funds advised by Permira, the global private equity firm, have acquired a majority stake in the business from Equistone Partners Europe (“Equistone”), one of Europe’s leading mid-market private equity investors. Equistone will reinvest in Acuity as a minority shareholder. Acuity’s management team also remains significantly invested in and committed to the business. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Acuity Knowledge Partners serves a global client base of over 500 financial services firms, including banks, asset managers, advisory firms, private equity houses and consultants. Its diverse team of analysts, industry experts, developers and data scientists work as an extension of clients’ teams and, combined with its proprietary technology solutions, allow clients to transform their practices and processes, increase revenues and maximise operational efficiency. Headquartered in London, Acuity operates globally, including in the UK, USA, India, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica, China and Dubai, UAE.
Acuity has recorded strong organic growth since it was established as an independent business in 2019 through a management buyout from Moody’s Corporation supported by Equistone. Last year the business completed the acquisition of Cians Analytics, a provider of research and analytical support for financial institutions, expanding its client base and service offering. Under the Permira funds’ ownership, and with Equistone’s continued support, Acuity will invest further in its teams, services and technology, positioning the business to best support its clients worldwide.
Robert King, CEO of Acuity Knowledge Partners, said: “Despite the current challenges for the financial services sector, we have experienced continued growth and a strong demand for our solutions and services. Supported by Permira and Equistone, who both have significant experience of investing in and growing first-class businesses in our sector, we are now driving numerous strategies for developing our offerings. Among other things, we want to deepen our relationships with our valued clients and forge new partnerships across our growing global client base. Given the significant demand within the financial services sector for value-added research and analytics, and the need for operational efficiency, with Permira’s deep experience in tech-enabled services and its global network, I am confident the business will continue to flourish.”
Daniel Tan, Head of Asia, and Chris Pell, Principal at Permira, commented: “Rob and his team have done a phenomenal job building Acuity to what it is today. The Company stands out because of its domain expertise, scale, long track record serving blue-chip financial institutions and innovative technology solutions. In the context of rising cost pressures facing the financial services industry, the value proposition of Acuity’s tech-enabled, global delivery specialists is extremely clear. We see great potential for Acuity to further extend its leadership in existing segments as well as branch into new adjacencies and geographies – growth areas we are very experienced in facilitating via our deep sector knowledge, across both services and technology, and global network.”
Tim Swales, Partner, and Richard Briault, Investment Director at Equistone, commented: “Acuity has performed exceptionally well in its three years of operating as an independent business, growing both its client base and its team of industry specialists substantially. This is testament to the high-quality customer experience and extensive service offering it provides to financial institutions, at a time when structural and technological changes within the industry are fuelling demand for greater and more efficient research and analysis. We are looking forward to continuing our partnership with Rob and his team in this next phase of Acuity’s growth journey.”
The deal, which is subject to customary regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2023.
Equistone was advised on the transaction by Rothschild & Co and DC Advisory, and Latham & Watkins acted as legal counsel. Robert W. Baird Limited served as financial advisers to Permira, and Clifford Chance is acting as legal counsel. Management was advised by Travers Smith and Jamieson.