Leeds Equity scoops up four companies, including PE HUB/Buyouts Insider

Leeds Equity Partners LLC, known for investing in the knowledge sector, is merging four companies to focus exclusively on information and compliance solutions.

The New York private equity firm said Dec. 7 that it simultaneously acquired BLR (formerly Business and Legal Resources), DecisionHealth, Argosy and CCMI. Financial terms of the deal, which closed this week, weren’t announced.

The four companies will form Simplify Compliance Holdings LLC, which will be based in Brentwood, Tennessee, outside Nashville.

UCG Holdings LP of Gaithersburg, Maryland, has sold all its stakes in DecisionHealth, Argosy and CCMI, said Jeffrey Leeds, president and co-founder of Leeds Equity. Argosy is the parent of PE HUB and Buyouts Insider, publisher of this report. BLR was owned by its management, founders and institutional shareholders, Leeds said.

The PE firm will have control of Simplify Compliance while management will also own a stake, Leeds said. No job cuts or management changes are expected, he said. Dan Oswald, the current CEO of BLR, will head Simplify Compliance.

“We are a firm that backs great managers and are incredibly excited to be partnering with Dan and his team,” Leeds said. “We are committed to growing these businesses and investing in their products.”

BLR, of Brentwood, was formed in 2011 when Business & Legal Reports merged with M. Lee Smith Publishers. The company provides legal and regulatory compliance information products and services to employers.

UCG, a B2B information publisher based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, acquired PE HUB and Buyouts Insider in October 2014 from Thomson Reuters. Decision Health supplies newsletters, books and websites for the healthcare space, while CCMI provides telecom data and information.

Simplify Compliance, a platform investment, will be looking to buy, Leeds said.

Seeking knowledge

Leeds Equity, which targets deals in education, training and information services, is known for investing in “knowledge industries,” he said. He cited Leeds’s current ownership of Barbri, a legal education provider, and Fulcrum Financial Data, a financial technology and information services platform. The firm also sold Nobel Learning, which offers preschool and K-12 education, last year to Investcorp.

“All of our companies are in the knowledge space,” he said.

BLR, headed by Oswald, reached out to Leeds Equity through investment bank Jordan Edmiston Group. Talks began in the late summer; the transaction was not an auction, he said. “We were able to get this done on a truly proprietary basis,” Leeds said.

Leeds is using its sixth fund, which is targeting $750 million, to invest in Simplify Compliance, a statement said.

Jordan Edmiston provided financial advice to BLR and UCG; Finn Dixon and Sherrard, Roe, Voigt, Harbison were the attorneys. Covington & Burling served as legal counsel to Leeds Equity.

Action Item: To contact Leeds Equity, email Jeffrey Leeds at jeffrey.leeds@leedsequity.com

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