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Cielo Announces Majority Equity Investment from the Permira Funds

20 December 2018

Cielo, the world’s leading strategic recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) partner, and Permira, the global private equity firm, today announced a definitive agreement under which a company backed by the Permira funds will acquire a majority equity stake in Cielo from Accel-KKR (AKKR). 

Cielo will use this new investment to support its next phase of strategic growth, reinforcing its commitment to providing innovative services, solutions and technology that help organizations around the globe find, attract and hire the best talent. As part of the transaction, the Cielo management team, led by Founder and Chief Executive Officer Sue Marks, will maintain meaningful ownership and will continue to lead Cielo in their current roles. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“Cielo is passionate about changing the way the world views talent, and just as our partnership with AKKR has fostered our growth into the leading global RPO, our new partnership with Permira will enable us to further our vision. Permira is committed to helping us achieve the ambitious goals we’ve set for the next stage in our development,” Sue Marks, Cielo CEO and Founder, said. “With the Permira funds’ support, we’ll continue to expand into new geographies and invest in innovation and technology, while delivering creative, strategic solutions, like Total Talent Acquisition, that meet and anticipate the evolving needs of our clients. The partnership also will support investments in our own people to ensure that the Cielo culture is one that attracts, develops, and inspires the world’s best recruiting talent.” 

“Cielo’s strong focus on helping organizations address their critical talent acquisition needs has positioned the company as a differentiated leader across many attractive end markets, including healthcare and technology, where RPO adoption continues to grow. We’re eager to work closely with Sue and the broader Cielo leadership team to advance the company’s market-leading position, both in the U.S. and internationally,” said Permira Principal John Mulflur. “Permira’s Industrials team has an increasing focus on high-growth, tech-enabled business services companies, and Cielo is a perfect fit,” added Permira Principal Dominik Pozny.

“We have been extremely fortunate to partner with Sue and the Cielo team to drive rapid growth and service innovation in building a global leader in the RPO market,” said Dean Jacobson, Managing Director at Accel-KKR. “We are excited about the momentum in the business and look forward to seeing Cielo’s sustained success as part of the Permira funds’ portfolio.”

This announcement caps a year of continued client and revenue growth for Cielo, as well as industry recognition. NelsonHall identified Cielo as a Leader in every category of its NEAT vendor evaluation for RPO, including Overall, Global/Multi-Country Focus, Innovation and Candidate Experience. Cielo maintained its Leader position on Everest Group's 2018 Global Recruitment Process Outsourcing PEAK MatrixTM report for the sixth consecutive year.

John Coyle, Stefan Dziarski, John Mulflur and Dominik Pozny from Permira will succeed Dean Jacobson, Rob Palumbo, Greg Williams, and David Cusimano from Accel-KKR on Cielo’s Board of Directors.

Barclays Capital Inc. acted as exclusive financial advisor to the Permira funds and provided committed financing; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP acted as legal advisor. Kirkland & Ellis acted as legal advisor to Accel-KKR.

The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to close in January 2019.

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