Chicago-based Lake Capital is in talks to buy the firm, peHUB has learned. BMO Capital Markets is arranging a $74 million financing to support the sale, according to Standard & Poor’s Leveraged Commentary and Data. BMO is believed to be also advising on the Ad Venture Interactive process, sources says.
Ad Venture Interactive, or AVI, is an interactive lead generation business that focuses on particular verticals including education, senior living and self-improvement. Arlington Capital’s investment dates back to late 2005, when the PE firm acquired a majority stake in Plattform Holdings from owner Michael Platt and his wife, Tamie (Michael Platt founded the company in 1988 as a media placement agency). The Platts retained some ownership while other members of Platt’s management team also bought equity, according to press reports from that time. It is unclear how much money Arlington invested.
In 2008, Plattform reorganized and changed its name to Ad Venture Interactive. AVI currently comprises three divisions: PlattForm Advertising, VentureDirect Worldwide and Beauty Schools Marketing Group. The company generates more than $150 million in annual billings, according to the AVI web site.
AVI is a smaller version of QuinStreet, which went public in January, a buyout executive says. QuinStreet places cost-per-lead advertising and gets paid if consumers take an action and request more product info. AVI is believed to have also considered going public but decided not to since the “markets aren’t there yet,” the exec says.
Officials for Arlington, AVI, Lake Capital and BMO could not be reached for comment.