Pacific Equity Partners puts AST on the block again

Pacific Equity Partners is seeking a buyer for American Stock Transfer & Trust Co (AST), three sources said.

“Books are out,” one of the people said.

AST produces $80 million of Ebitda and is expected to fetch $1 billion, sources said. Macquarie is advising on the auction, the sources said.

Pacific Equity previously tried to sell AST, but it pulled the sale in 2017 after it did not get the valuation it was seeking, Buyouts reported. Bloomberg reported that it was seeking as much as $1.5 billion for the company.

Based in Brooklyn, New York, AST is a data management and advisory firm. It was founded as a transfer agent more than 45 years ago. It provides stock-transfer and registrar services and employee-plan services, as well as equity plan solutions.

Pacific Equity Partners invested in AST in May 2008. The deal was valued at about $1 billion. Since then, AST acquired AST Fund Solutions LLC in 2011 and D.F. King & Co in 2014.

In 2013, AST refinanced $480 million in debt, which enabled Intermedia Capital Group and Goldman Sachs to cash out, the Wall Street Journal reported at the time.

Pacific Equity is the largest private equity fund in Australia. The firm has A$3.9 billion ($2.7 billion) in assets under management. It invests in sectors including industrial services, energy, consumer products and big data/financial services.

Pacific Equity’s last fund, PEP V, closed in September 2015 at its A$2.1 billion hard cap. The buyout shop is fundraising for its latest flagship, PEP VI, which is close to raising A$2.5 billion ($1.7 billion), the Australian Financial Review reported.

AST is the last remaining investment from PEP’s fourth fund, Financial Review said in February. PEP IV collected $3.7 billion in 2008, according to PitchBook.

Macquarie declined comment. AST and Pacific Equity could not be reached for comment.