Parthenon Capital seeks buyer for Cayan

Parthenon Capital Partners is looking to exit Cayan LLC after nearly five years.

Parthenon has hired FT Partners to run a process for Cayan, which received an unsolicited bid from a large strategic, three sources said. Cayan produces about $40 million in run-rate EBITDA; it is seeking bids of $750 million to $1 billion, one of the people said.

CEO Henry Helgeson co-founded the Boston payment-technology company in 1998. In May, Cayan acquired Card Payments Services of Dallas.

The Cayan auction is expected to draw the interest of private equity firms, which are frequent investors in payments companies. Firms including GTCRWelsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, TA AssociatesVista Equity Partners and Lindsay Goldberg have invested in the space.

A different source said Parthenon has been open to Cayan bids for the past 18 months.

The Cayan sale comes as other payments companies are looking for buyers. The auction of BluePay Processing, a portfolio company of TA Associates, is expected to start soon, Buyouts reported. Evo Payments International, which is pursuing a dual sales process, has filed its S-1, which will be used as a selling memorandum to buyers, Buyouts said. Evo is backed by Madison Dearborn Partners.

Parthenon’s investment in Cayan dates to July 2012, when it acquired the company, then known as Merchant Warehouse. FT Partners advised the company in the sale at that time, a tombstone said.

In 2015, Merchant Warehouse changed its name to Cayan, which was meant to reflect the company’s bold vision and commitment to innovation.

Parthenon, founded in 1998, targets middle-market companies in financial services, healthcare services and business services. The firm sold Bracket, a provider of technology-driven clinical-trial-support services, to Genstar Capital in March. In October, Parthenon invested in BillingTree through a recapitalization. The buyout shop also owns Arrow Financial Services, Abeo and Ascension Insurance.

In 2016, Parthenon’s fifth flagship fund closed at its $1 billion hard cap. Parthenon’s fourth pool raised $700 million in 2012.

Executives for Cayan and Parthenon could not immediately be reached for comment.

Action Item: Contact Zachary Sadek, a Parthenon partner, at +1 617-960-4083

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