"Dual tracks" continue to gather pace

Yesterday saw the formal announcement that Verisk Analytics, the listed US-based risk analytics software company, was successful in its pursuit of Wood McKenzie, the Scottish global energy consultancy. Whilst the deal won't break any records for price, with Verisk paying just under USD 2.8bn for "WoodMac" (as the company is affectionately known) to Hellman & Friedman, the private equity firm, it is another recent example of a PE exit where the sellers are actively following a "Dual track" process.

"WoodMac" was acquired by Hellman & Freidman back in July 2012, providing an exit for Charterhouse Capital Partners. However in January of this year it became known that Hellman & Freidman was contemplating an exit of the business and was said to be actively exploring an IPO, only for the sale process to be hijacked by both trade and private equity buyers. Personally I have always believed that Private Equity owners buy businesses with an exit strategy loosely formed in their mind, but ultimately the final exit decision will come down to the health of the capital markets and frankly whether or not someone is prepared to offer the right price at the right time - no matter when that right time happens to be.

However "Dual tracks" seem to be this year's hot topic as far as the media are concerned and there have been a number that have caught the attention of the media, including Refresco Gerber, which listed in Amsterdam after interest shown by PAI Partners, Pamplona Capital and Platinum Equity. Likewise Autotrader, whose IPO was announced by Apax Partners a couple of weeks ago, had been subject to interest from a number of buyout firms.

Filed under: dual track, energy, exit, PE, UK, US, dealmaking