LDC backs MBO of PEI Media Group

PEI, the fast-growing publisher of Infrastructure Investor, has received a sizeable injection of private equity capital as it continues to expand its coverage of the world’s alternative asset markets.

PEI Media Group, owner of Infrastructure Investor, has secured financial backing from UK mid-market private equity provider LDC for a management-led buyout of the alternative assets information business.

LDC, which is part of Lloyds Banking Group and exclusively invests off the bank’s balance sheet, has made a significant equity investment for a minority stake in the business. PEI’s management team, led by chief executive Tim McLoughlin, also invested in the transaction. Co-founders David Hawkins and Richard O’Donohoe are becoming non-executive directors and will continue to hold a minority interest.

As part of the deal Tim Trotter, a long-standing UK entrepreneur and media specialist, is joining PEI as non-executive chairman.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

PEI was formed in 2001 following a management buyout from Euromoney Institutional Investor plc. Since then, the group has grown a diversified portfolio of alternative asset-focused publications, databases and branded events. Headquartered in London with offices in Hong Kong and New York, the company currently employs 150 people and has clients based in over 80 countries.

The company’s publications include Private Equity International, PERE, Infrastructure Investor, Private Debt Investor, Real Estate Capital, pfm, Agri Investor and Secondaries Investor, amongst others.

PEI also hosts over 50 events globally every year, with flagship annual conferences including Infrastructure Investor Europe in Berlin, PERE Asia in Hong Kong, PEI COOs and CFOs Forum in New York and PDI Capital Structure in London.

LDC has bought into the business at a time when the group has been posting consistently strong revenue and EBITDA growth across its business lines. Between 2012 and 2015, revenue increased by 21 percent CAGR and EBITDA by 52 percent CAGR.

Chris Neale, a London-based investment director, led the deal for LDC. Neale said: “The long-term growth and professionalisation of the alternative assets industry – driven by expanding numbers of institutions, practitioners and assets under management – creates a favourable backdrop for the further extension of PEI’s brands as well as the development of new insight-led products and services.”

 
Chief executive Tim McLoughlin commented: “[Partnering with LDC] gives us the capital, strategic insight and operational support to help us continue investing in our platforms for the benefit of the markets we serve, while creating new opportunities to help them connect, engage and promote. Together we will be able to go further, faster.”

LDC, which invests up to £100 million per deal into MBOs, institutional buyouts and development capital transactions, has a portfolio of 90 businesses that employ more than 30,000 people across the UK. In 2014, the firm invested over £250 million of equity in 16 enterprises, with an additional £28 million of funding for add-on acquisitions made available to these companies.