Apollo’s West Corp to scoop up Marketwired from Nasdaq

Apollo Global Management is the latest private equity firm to get into the news-distribution business.

West Corp, backed by Apollo, is buying Marketwired from Nasdaq. West has received regulatory clearance to buy the company, along with other Nasdaq businesses, a March 9 notice on the Federal Trade Commission website said.

In addition to Marketwired, West is acquiring GlobeNewswire as well as Nasdaq’s public relations, webcasting and web hosting services within its corporate solutions business.

The Apollo portfolio company is paying $335 million, a Jan. 29 statement said. The deal has yet to close, a West spokesman said.

Marketwired, Toronto, distributes press releases and provides services to more than 8,500 clients, including Forbes 2000 companies, a 2016 statement said. It competes against bigger rivals PR Newswire and Business Wire.

The Marketwired sale is part of Nasdaq’s shift to focus more on data and analytics. As part of its refocus, the exchange operator in September agreed to buy eVestment, a provider of institutional investment data and analytics, for $705 million. The seller was Insight Venture Partners.

Nasdaq, that September, said it was exploring strategic alternatives for its public relations and digital media services. The process was a result of Nasdaq’s decision to refocus.

The shift came just months after Adena Friedman assumed the helm, becoming CEO of Nasdaq in January 2017. (Friedman is also the former CFO of Carlyle Group.)

Nasdaq’s ownership of Marketwired was relatively brief. It acquired Marketwired in February 2016 from Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System. The deal was valued at $200 million, Reuters said.

Apollo has owned West, a telephone conferencing services provider, for less than a year. The global buyout shop acquired West in October for about $2 billion, although the net value of the deal was $5.1 billion, Reuters reported.

Apollo committed $1.3 billion equity to the deal, a regulatory document said. The investment came from Apollo Investment Fund VIII LP, which closed on $17.5 billion in 2013.

Apollo isn’t the only buyout shop that has a press release distributor in its holdings. Cision, which owns PR Newswire, Gorkana and PRWeb, is a portfolio company of GTCR. Cision merged with a blank-check company from investor Mark Ein and went public last year, Buyouts reported.

Business Wire, meanwhile, is backed by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.

Credit Suisse and Liontree advised West. Evercore provided financial advice to Nasdaq.

Action Item: For more information, call David Mussman, West Corp EVP, secretary and general counsel, at +1 402-963-1200.

Leon Black, chairman and CEO of Apollo, takes part in the Private Equity: Rebalancing Risk session during the 2014 Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, on April 29, 2014. REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian