Boston based private equity firm Berkshire Partners is acquiring majority control of the Catalina Marketing Corporation, a provider of digital media solutions for the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry, based in St. Petersburg Florida.
The selling shareholders are the California based private equity firm Hellman & Friedman, who had purchased 100% of the company in 2007. This is a “secondary transaction” where one private equity firm sells to another, primarily to achieve liquidity and sometimes also to record an uplift in recorded carrying values where, as in this case, a minority interest continues to be held by the selling entity.
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Terms of the new transaction were not announced, but in May 2007 when Hellman & Friedman had privatized the company, at just about the peak of the last business cycle, they paid about US$1.6 billion for it. When news of this pending new transaction began to circulate recently, a current valuation of something north of US$2 billion was splashed around in some media reports.
Brad Bloom, a Managing Director at Berkshire Partners who led the new purchase for Berkshire said, “We are attracted to Catalina’s unique ability to translate shopper data into personalized media at mass scale, ” adding, “We look forward to working alongside Catalina’s leadership team to accelerate their capacity to serve the world’s leading CPG retailers and brands.”
What began as a company handing out grocery coupons to shoppers has since charted an ambitious growth plan, transforming itself into a multi-channel digital media platform that aims to develop customer loyalty for its customers brands.
Today, Catalina claims to reach 350 million global shoppers every month. The company expanded its digital network by forming strategic partnerships with leading retailers including Target and Walgreens; formed a joint venture with Nielsen to create media targeting for television and online advertising; and launched mobile and online promotions, as well as advertising solutions.
“We remain strong believers in Catalina’s vision, people and ability to drive innovations to capitalize on this incredible market opportunity, ” said Philip Hammarskjold, the CEO of Hellman & Friedman. “The company is well-positioned as the leading personalized digital media platform for CPG, and we are excited to continue our partnership with Catalina for years to come.”
Jamie Egasti, the Catalina CEO said of the new deal “We believe this transaction is an affirmation of Catalina’s growth outlook, strategy and leadership team, ” adding, “We’ll continue our investments in talent, technology and data science to drive innovations that will further enable our clients to engage and delight consumers.”
“We’ve enjoyed a successful partnership with Hellman & Friedman, and look forward to our next chapter of growth with Berkshire Partners, ” he also said. Catalina has more than 1, 300 employees Worldwide, including operations in St. Petersburg, Boston, Chicago, Paris, and Tokyo.
About Berkshire Partners
Berkshire Partners, the Boston-based investment firm, has invested in over 100 middle market companies since 1986 through eight private equity funds with aggregate capital commitments of US$11 billion.
Berkshire has developed specific industry experience in several areas including consumer products and retail, business services, industrial manufacturing, transportation and communications.