HGGC has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Survey Sampling International. No financial terms were disclosed. As a result of the transaction, Providence Equity Partners and Sterling Investment Partners, SSI’s joint owners, will retain minority stakes in the business. Also, Rich Lawson, CEO and managing partner of HGGC, has been named chairman of SSI’s board while Steve Young, managing partner of HGGC will also join the board. Based in Shelton, Conn., SSI is a provider of data solutions and technology for consumer and business-to-business research.
PALO ALTO, Calif.—November 10, 2014—HGGC, a leading middle market private equity firm, today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to invest in the parent company of Survey Sampling International, LLC (“SSI”), a leading provider of data solutions and technology for consumer and business-to-business research. The investment, which will make HGGC the majority owner of the company, will be done in partnership with Providence Equity Partners (“Providence”) and Sterling Investment Partners, who have jointly owned the company since 2011 and are retaining minority stakes in the business. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Founded in 1977 and headquartered in Shelton, Connecticut, SSI utilizes its online, mobile and offline capabilities to help deliver market research insights by managing more than 31 million surveys annually. The Company’s more than 3,000 customers include some of the largest organizations in the world, ranging from leading market research and consulting firms to Fortune 500 businesses and universities. With 25 offices in 18 countries on five continents, SSI is focused on people, panels and technology to deliver both consumer and business-to-business based intelligence on a global scale.
“We are very pleased to open this new chapter for SSI and accelerate our growth strategy that has been so successful the past several years,” said Chris Fanning, President and CEO of SSI. “HGGC’s deep knowledge of technology-enabled businesses and their collaborative approach to management will be invaluable in supporting SSI as we look to extend our industry leadership, enhance our product and technology offering, expand our global footprint, and capture a substantial and growing market opportunity.”
“We are excited to partner with the management team, Providence, and Sterling on this investment in SSI, which pioneered sampling, data collection and data analytics, and has been an industry innovator and leader since its inception,” said Rich Lawson, CEO and Managing Partner of HGGC. “Chris and the SSI management team have positioned the company to increase its global market share as the demand for actionable market insights continues to expand, and we will work closely with them to build on that success .”
On completion of the investment, Lawson will become Chairman of the Board of SSI, and will be joined on the Board by HGGC Managing Partner Steve Young. Providence and Sterling will each continue to be represented on the Board of SSI.
“HGGC is a great choice as an additional partner for SSI’s investors, Chris and the SSI management team, and SSI’s customers,” said Charles Gottdiener, Chief Operating Officer and a Managing Director at Providence. “We look forward to collaborating with them on continuing the very good growth that SSI is achieving.”
SSI is the premier global provider of data solutions and technology for consumer and business-to-business survey research, reaching respondents in 86 countries via Internet, telephone, mobile/wireless and mixed-access offerings. SSI staff operates from 25 offices in 18 countries, offering CATI, questionnaire design consultation, programming and hosting, online custom reporting and data processing. SSI’s 3,300 employees serve more than 3,000 clients worldwide. More information is available at www.surveysampling.com.
Based in Palo Alto, California, HGGC is a leading private equity firm focusing on leveraged buyout, recapitalizations and growth equity transactions in the middle market. HGGC seeks to partner with strong management teams, founders and sponsors to build companies capable of generating sustainable growth. With years of collective deal and operational experience, HGGC brings best practices from private equity and global corporations to help middle market businesses in a wide range of industries outperform the market. More information is available at www.hggc.com.
About Providence Equity Partners
Providence Equity Partners is the leading global private equity firm specializing in equity investments in media, communications, education, and information companies around the world. The firm manages funds with over $40 billion in commitments and has invested in more than 140 companies globally since its inception in 1989. Providence is headquartered in Providence, RI and also has offices in New York, London, Hong Kong, Beijing, and New Delhi. More information is available at www.provequity.com.
About Sterling Investment Partners
Sterling Investment Partners (“Sterling”) has been investing in and building middle-market companies for almost 25 years with a highly experienced, cohesive team of senior investment professionals. Sterling acquires businesses that the firm believes have strong, sustainable competitive advantages and significant opportunities for value creation. Over its history, Sterling has completed platform investments, strategic or add-on acquisitions, recapitalizations and liquidity events with an aggregate transaction value of approximately $9.0 billion, representing more than 100 transactions. Sterling currently has approximately $1.25 billion of equity capital under management. More information is available at www.sterlinglp.com