Carlyle’s Eggplant Software finds PE buyer, Stone Point to back strategy launched by ex-Park Hill secondaries advisory chief, CVC buys stake in Pro 14 league

Keysight Technologies is acquiring Carlyle-backed Eggplant Software and Liquidnet goes on the block.

Happy Wednesday, Dear Tech Take Readers!

I hope you enjoyed the long holiday weekend. I certainly did. The beautiful New York weather made for a great family BBQ, as I continued to discover my inner chef under quarantine with scallops and braised short ribs. What was on your Memorial Day weekend table?

This just in: Carlyle Group-backed Eggplant Software has shaken hands on a deal to be acquired by Keysight Technologies, sources familiar with the agreement told me. A few weeks ago I wrote the company was engaged in late-stage deal discussions with one to two parties.

For Keysight, an older player in the automation testing market, adding the new generation testing software provider is a means to advance its tech capabilities, one source told me.

Keysight, a nearly $20 billion market cap company, makes electronic test and measurement equipment and software. Check out my story on PE Hub to find out where the deal’s value is expected to land.

Eggplant is yet another example of the growth and investor appetite in the DevOps market, which has produced significant M&A activity as of late. In April, for instance, TPG announced its new DevOps platform, Digital.ai. The company is comprised of three companies including Arxan Technologies, which it snapped up from TA Associates in April.

The global automation testing market in which Eggplant plays is expected to grow from $12.2 billion in 2018 to $30.75 billion by the end of 2025, according to a recent report by ReportLinker.

Fintech
New Auction Alert: Founder-led Liquidnet, a dark pool provider for global equities and bonds, is seeking a buyer.
The sale process, first reported by Bloomberg last week, is expected to attract interest from private equity, sources told me.

The process comes after Liquidnet, which connects asset managers with liquidity through its global institutional investment network, implemented changes in the C-suite ahead of the recession. After Liquidnet’s founder Seth Merrin stepped down as CEO in February, Brian Conroy, a former Fidelity Investments executive, stepped in to take the lead.
A potential transaction could value the company at around $1 billion, Bloomberg said.

While this may sound like a sizable deal, Liquidnet has seemingly shrunk in value over the years. In 2005, TCV and Summit Partners bought a minority stake in the company, valuing the company at close to $2 billion, PE Hub’s sister publication PEI reported at the time.

Both firms in the period since have exited Liquidnet, unloading their stakes to the company’s management team.
What are you hearing around the process and the type of buyer Liquidnet will attract? Write me at mvinn@buyoutsinsider.com with your feedback, tips and suggestions.

Top Scoops
Stone Point Capital, a financial services investor that closed its eighth fund last year on $7 billion, is backing the formation of a secondaries strategy by former Park Hill Group secondaries advisory chief Jonathan Costello, writes my colleagues Chris Witkowsky and Adam Le today.

The strategy will focus specifically on single-asset type secondary deals, sources told Chris and Adam. Read the story here for more information and on how Stone Point got involved.

I Squared Capital managed to capture the upside of the oil-market mayhem last month with its deal for Rubis Terminal, a provider of critical bulk-liquid storage facilities, writes Karishma Vanjani on PE Hub. The investment firm held discussions with the group two years before closing the deal. Read more here on PE Hub.

That’s it! Have a great day! Reach me with questions, comments or just to chat at mvinn@buyoutsinsider.com.