Court Square and HGGC Merge Survey Data Firms

HGGC and Court Square Capital have signed an agreement to merge Court Square-owned Research Now with HGGC-owned Survey Sampling International. The combined company will continue to be owned by HGGC and Court Square with management having a significant stake in the business. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year.

Research Now, acquired by Court Square Capital in March 2015, uses online panels – as well as mobile, digital and social media technologies – to assemble data that is used by its clients to assess strategy, competitive intelligence, new product development, brand positioning and digital ad effectiveness.  Research Now has more than 3,000 customers and has locations across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific. The company, led by CEO Gary Laben, is headquartered near Dallas in Plano, TX (www.researchnow.com).

Survey Sampling International (SSI), acquired by HGGC in November 2014, is a provider of data and technologies used in consumer and business-to-business survey research. Customers include market research firms, consulting firms, and end-clients which include corporate end-users, universities and public opinion firms. SSI reaches participants in more than 90 countries via internet, telephone, mobile/wireless, and offline methods. The company operates from 40 offices and has more than 3,500 customers worldwide. SSI, led by President and CEO Chris Fanning, was founded in 1977 and is headquartered near New Haven in Shelton, CT (www.surveysampling.com).

According to HGGC and Court Square, the combined capabilities of Research Now and SSI – including first-party data, technology platforms, and partnerships with major brands, publishers and ad tech providers – will position the combined company to expand its core business and compete in new markets such as audience activation, analytics, path to purchase and measurement. “Together, we can advance the state-of-the-art in automated research, delivery and solutions as well as in research-enriched data integration to give our customers increased competitive advantage,” said Mr. Laben.

“Under our ownership, SSI has extended its reach and product capabilities tremendously, including expanding by 4x its revenues derived from strategic B2B services to clients,” said Steve Young, Co-Founder and Managing Director of HGGC. “This merger is a natural next step to create an organization that can meet the growing demands of global customers of all sizes.”

HGGC (formerly Huntsman Gay Global Capital) makes leveraged buyout, recapitalizations and growth equity investments in middle market companies. The firm invests from $25 million to $100 million of equity per transaction in companies that have revenues of $100 million or more, enterprise values of $100 million to $500 million, and EBITDA of $15 million or more. In December 2016, HGGC closed its third fund, HGGC Fund III, LP, with total capital commitments of $1.8 billion, surpassing the Fund III target of $1.5 billion and reaching the $1.75 billion hard cap, exclusive of the general partner’s capital commitment. HGGC is based in Palo Alto (www.hggc.com).

“The Research Now management team has done an excellent job of positioning the company for the next phase of growth,” said John Civantos, Managing Partner at Court Square. “We look forward to partnering with HGGC and working towards a successful merger of two great companies.”

Court Square invests in middle market companies that are active in the business services, general industrials, healthcare, and technology/telecommunications sectors. Court Square currently manages approximately $4.4 billion of capital and is based in New York (www.courtsquare.com).

Goldman Sachs & Co. advised Court Square on the merger and Harris Williams & Co. advised HGGC.

© 2017 Private Equity Professional | October 16, 2017