Saturday 24 August 2019

Low-profile Ion makes $870m move for Dealogic

Dublin-registered Ion Investment Group, has snapped up a controlling stake in the global financial information provider, Dealogic, in a deal valuing the business at about $870m. Stock image
Dublin-registered Ion Investment Group, has snapped up a controlling stake in the global financial information provider, Dealogic, in a deal valuing the business at about $870m. Stock image

Gretchen Friemann

Dublin-registered Ion Investment Group, has snapped up a controlling stake in the global financial information provider, Dealogic, in a deal valuing the business at about $870m.

The deal will leave private equity firm Carlyle and Dealogic's management with a minority stake in the company.

However, Carlyle also holds a slice of Ion, which is part of the US-based Ion Group.

Ion's swoop enabled Euromoney Institutional Investor, the London-listed publisher and events business part owned by the Daily Mail & General Trust, to exit after more than doubling its money on the investment in just under three years.

Euromoney snapped up its 15.5pc stake at the end of 2014 for $59.2m. Ion and Carlyle did not reveal the terms of the restructure. However Euromoney revealed it had cashed out of Dealogic at $135m.

The deal underscores the extent to which financial research companies have proved so attractive to private equity firms in recent years. They bet on debt being readily serviced by their subscription model, and the larger players like Dealogic have become consolidators in a fragmented market.

But the transaction also delivers greater prominence to the low-profile Ion Investments firm.

The trading technology specialist is registered in Dublin although its founder and chief executive, Andrea Pignataro is based in London.

Earlier this year, Carlyle bought a $400m minority stake in Ion, which generated operating profits of €281m in 2015 on revenue of €605.8m.

Its main software products enable clients to automate trading activities in financial markets, and also includes treasury and management software systems for central banks and other financial institutions.

Ion maintains a very low-key presence in Ireland and is frequently characterised in US and UK media as a 'secretive' Irish trading technology specialist.

But over the past 15 years it has established a reach in the financial sector and spearheaded a string of key acquisitions that include Iris Trading Systems, an Irish bond market trading system, which was bought over a decade; online trading portal Caplin Systems, which was purchased in 2015 and Wall Street Systems a trade processing solutions provider to the currency market.

Mr Pignataro said in a statement that Dealogic's leading position in data, analytics, and market intelligence is highly complementary to ION's business. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

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