Genstar, Aquiline launch Ascensus auction

The auction of Ascensus, the retirement-plan provider backed by Genstar Capital and Aquiline Capital Partners, has begun, three sources said.

First-round bids for Ascensus are due in mid-September, the sources said. Barclays and JP Morgan are advising on the process, which could see Ascensus sell for $2.25 billion, Buyouts reported in July.

Ascensus, Dresher, Pennsylvania, provides retirement-plan services, like outsourced record-keeping and administration, to defined-contribution plans and IRAs.

Genstar and Aquiline acquired Ascensus for $850 million in December 2015. JC Flowers was the seller.

Since then, Ascensus has pursued an add-on strategy; this year it has acquired about 15 companies. These include deals for PenSys in August, and three separate acquisitions in July: 401k Plus, Continental Benefits Group and INTAC Actuarial Services.

Ascensus reportedly generates Ebitda of about $150 million and could sell for 15x. Large buyout shops like Blackstone, KKR, GTCR and Hellman & Friedman are expected to be interested in Ascensus, Buyouts said.

In another fintech transaction, SS&C is near a deal to buy Intralinks, Reuters reported.

If finalized, the deal would be SS&C’s third buy this year. In July, SS&C agreed to acquire Eze Software for $1.45 billion. It also closed a $5.4 billion buy of DST Systems earlier this year.

Intralinks would be a very short hold for Siris Capital Group. The New York firm acquired Intralinks, a data-sharing platform, in November 2017 in a deal valued at $1 billion. SS&C may agree to pay roughly twice that, Reuters said.

Executives for Aquiline, Ascensus and SS&C declined comment. Genstar, Siris, and Intralinks could not immediately be reached for comment.

Action Item: Contact Ascensus CEO Bob Guillocheau at bob.guillocheau@ascensus.com