BPEA EQT makes first new investment since forming last year; Vista backs ESG reporting software

BPEA Equity is acquiring sports education brand IMG.

Good morning, Hubsters. MK Flynn here with today’s Wire on a deal-packed Tuesday.

This morning, we’ve got a Deep Dive into Cerberus’ $2.25 billion sale of Worldwide Flight Services to SATS.

And we’ve just launched a new data offering on PE Hub Europe.

But first, let’s get to a couple of deals that were unveiled earlier this morning, one from BPEA EQT and another from Vista Equity Partners.

Sports education
BPEA EQT just announced the $1.25 billion acquisition of IMG Academy, a Bradenton, Florida-based provider of sports education services that supports approximately 100,000 student-athletes, from Endeavor Group Holdings. The deal is expected to close in Q3.

BPEA EQT is making the investment out of BPEA Private Equity Fund VIII, and it is in partnership with portfolio company Nord Anglia Education, a London-based operator of 82 schools in 33 countries, supporting about 75,000 students.

Funds affiliated with BPEA have been investors in Nord Anglia since August 2008, when they completed a take-private transaction alongside company management.

With Asia being IMG Academy’s largest source of international students, BPEA EQT and Nord Anglia plan to support its overseas expansion and leverage partnership opportunities between the two institutions.

“IMG Academy’s brand is globally recognized, and we see compelling opportunities in supporting its international expansion, including Asia, and broadening its educational offering, leveraging BPEA EQT’s insights from having led Nord Anglia Education’s growth in the region,” said Jack Hennessy, partner and co-head of education within BPEA EQT’s advisory team, in the deal announcement.

With the transaction, BPEA Private Equity Fund VIII is expected to be 20-25 percent invested.

BPEA EQT was formed in October 2022, combining EQT and Baring Private Equity Asia.

This marks the first new investment since the pair combined.

For more on the BPEA EQT’s strategy, see our previous interview with EQT CEO Christian Sinding.

ESG reporting
Vista Equity Partners just announced a minority growth investment in Benchmark Gensuite, a provider of Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS), Sustainability and ESG Reporting software.

Benchmark Gensuite was founded in 1997 as Gensuite and subsequently spun out of GE in 2010.

The deal marks the target’s first influx of external capital.

The investment comes from Vista’s Endeavor Fund, which provides growth capital and strategic support to high-growth enterprise software companies. Earlier this year Endeavor announced a partial exit from e-discovery software provider Zapproved, via a sale to Exterro.

Recommended reading
Private equity-backed enterprise software deals are flourishing this year. For more on the trends driving these deals, see Obey Martin Manayiti’s recent in-depth feature, which includes quotes from dealmakers with Vista, Thoma Bravo and other PE firms investing in the sector.

Unprecedented impact
And now for that Deep Dive I promised you:
Earlier in April, Cerberus Capital Management announced the $2.25 billion sale of Worldwide Flight Services, a Paris-based air cargo logistics operator, to SATS, a Singapore-based provider of food products and gateway services.

Cerberus, which is based in New York, bought WFS from Platinum Equity in June 2018, nearly two years before global air travel shut down in the face of the covid pandemic.

Thanks to covid, Cerberus’ growth strategy for WFS involved a change of course to e-commerce and pharmaceutical cargo, Craig Brooks, senior managing director at Cerberus, told PE Hub Europe’s Craig McGlashan.

“Covid had an unprecedented impact on the aviation industry,” said Brooks. “WFS’s business was less impacted because most of its revenues are from air cargo logistics. Also, during covid, WFS pivoted to serving more freighters, which were not subject to the passenger flight restrictions and growth segments of cargo, including e-commerce and pharmaceuticals carried by air. Covid was an opportunity to accelerate our strategy in these growth areas.”

Organizations such as the International Air Transport Association have highlighted growth in the transport of pharma products by air, of which WFS sought to take advantage.

“Industry participants such as WFS are investing in the capabilities to handle pharma globally,” said Brooks. “You also have to be compliant to handle such cargo. We invested in cold storage and those capabilities really didn’t exist in the air cargo sector. It’s high-value, time-sensitive, so it makes sense for a segment of pharma to travel by air.”

GP search
Finally, I want to call your attention to a new data offering for PE Hub Europe. We just launched our Platinum GP Database, with over 2,400 profiles.

Search the database to locate European-based GPs currently fundraising, identify and connect with key firm contacts, analyse the fundraising climate, look for new business opportunities, and track GPs by investment appetite and AUM.

With our easy-to-navigate tabs and search filters, you’ll find what you’re looking for quickly, plus Platinum subscribers can export the data in PDF or excel file formats to directly add to workflows or reports.

On that note, I’ll sign off.

Buyouts’ Chris Witkowsky will be on duty tomorrow, and I’ll be back on Thursday.

Happy dealmaking,