Contact: Ben Kolada, Tejas Venkatesh
Fiserv has acquired fellow financial software company Open Solutions, adding new clients and bolstering its offerings for credit unions and banks. Fiserv is buying Open Solutions from Carlyle Group and Providence Equity Partners, paying $55m for the target’s equity and assuming $960m in debt. While Open Solutions’ enterprise value (EV) this time around is about 20% less than its price in its 2006 take-private, its equity value is a much smaller fraction of the previous transaction.
In the time since Carlyle Group and Providence Equity took Open Solutions private to Monday’s sale to Fiserv, the company’s debt has ballooned. Open Solutions had roughly $448m in net debt when it announced that it was being taken private. That amounted to about one-third (36%) of its total EV. The company’s debt has nearly doubled in the past six years and now accounts for nearly all (95%) of its EV.
Although Open Solutions’ debt does appear troubling, Fiserv is recognizing some financial benefits from the acquisition. Open Solutions has had a history of losses, which means that tax breaks are available to Fiserv. The net present value of those breaks is $165m, which will ultimately reduce the total cost of the acquisition from $1.01bn to $865m.
For more real-time information on tech M&A, follow us on Twitter @MAKnowledgebase.
Contact: Brenon Daly
In 2010, it was The Carlyle Group. So far in 2011, it’s Providence Equity Partners. These two private equity (PE) firms have the two largest non-club tech leveraged buyouts in each of the past two years. Recall that last October – on successive days, no less – Carlyle erased both CommScope and Syniverse Technologies from the public market in a pair of deals that cost the buyout shop $6.5bn. (Understandably, Carlyle has been fairly quiet since then, announcing only a pair of small transactions.)
Now, Providence has its own double-barrel deals that are on top of the standings. Somewhat unusually, both of the firm’s acquisitions came on the first day of a new quarter: On April 1, it announced the planned take-private of SRA International for $1.9bn, and then followed that up Friday with the $1.6bn buyout of Blackboard to start the third quarter.
PE activity since the Great Recession
Source: The 451 M&A KnowledgeBase
-Contact Thomas Rasmussen
While we have been expecting continued consolidation in the gaming sector for a long time now, we didn’t see this combination coming. Id Software, a staunchly independent, Mesquite, Texas-based shop best known for founder John Carmack and the Doom franchise, sold recently to Rockville, Maryland-based ZeniMax Media. ZeniMax is a relatively small, privately held publisher, having picked up Bethesda Software in 2001. However, the firm has wealthy backers. It raised $300m in 2007 from private equity shop Providence Equity Partners and according to a US Securities and Exchange Commission filing, raised another $105m in debt financing on July 7, which was specifically earmarked for the acquisition of id. Given that ZeniMax undoubtedly wants to retain id’s employees (even giving a seat of the board to id CEO Todd Hollenshead), we suspect ZeniMax also had to tap into its equity to cover the purchase price, which wasn’t revealed.
This deal makes us wonder about the outlook for the remaining independent legacy videogame studios. Specifically, we’re referring to Bellevue, Washington-based Valve Corp and Cary, North Carolina-based Epic Games. Not that we’re suggesting any formal shopping is taking place. But if the id exit shows us anything, it is that in a time when development costs are skyrocketing and financing is harder to come by, it might be wise for studios to join forces with a larger publisher. That’s particularly true as the current economic slump has painfully shown that the videogame industry is not as ‘recession-proof’ as some people had hoped. Shares of Electronic Arts, which serve as a kind of proxy for the entire videogame industry, have been cut in half over the past year, compared to a mere 6% decline in the broader software stock index during the same period.
Videogame-related M&A by the big four, 2006-present
||Number of acquisitions
||Total known deal value
||$5.69bn (includes merger with Vivendi)
Source: The 451 M&A KnowledgeBase