Hg Announces Sale Of Argus Media

22nd January 2024 | Hg Capital Trust PLC (FTSE 250)

Hg, the Manager of HgCapital Trust plc (“HGT”), today announces that it has agreed a full realisation of its shareholding in Argus Media, the leading independent provider of intelligence to the global energy and commodity markets.

The transaction is expected to close in the next month and is subject to appropriate antitrust/merger controls filings.

HGT, whose shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange, gives private and institutional investors the opportunity to participate in all Hg’s investments.

This transaction values HGT’s investment in Argus Media at approximately £52 million. This would represent an uplift of £4 million (7% or 0.8 pence per share) over the pro-forma carrying value of £48 million in the Net Asset Value (“NAV”) of HGT at 30 September 2023.

Note that these figures only relate to HgCapital Trust’s share of Hg’s overall investment in Argus Media.

Based on the 30 September 2023 reported NAV, the pro-forma NAV of the Trust is expected to be £2.3 billion (or 499 pence per share). HGT’s available liquid resources, which includes the undrawn bank facility of £350 million for future deployment (including all announced transactions and the interim dividend paid in October) are estimated to be £753 million (33% of the pro-forma 30 September 2023 NAV).

Argus announces strategic agreement to support next phase of growth

Company to focus on further diversification to address opportunities in emerging commodities and the energy transition

London, 22 January 2024 – The Argus Media Group (“Argus” or the “Company”), the leading independent provider of intelligence to the global energy and commodity markets, today announces that it has signed a strategic agreement to support its next phase of growth. Adrian Binks, chairman and chief executive of Argus, along with General Atlantic, a leading global growth investor and existing Argus minority shareholder, will each consolidate their stakes in Argus, with General Atlantic and Argus itself acquiring shares from current minority shareholder, Hg.

Following the transaction, Adrian Binks, who has built the Company since taking management control in 1984, will continue to lead Argus and as a result of the transaction, he will become the majority owner of the Company, as envisaged when General Atlantic invested in 2016. General Atlantic will own a large minority of the Company, with Argus management also remaining as shareholders. Hg will fully exit its shareholding in the Company.

Founded in 1970 and headquartered in London, Argus serves over 11,000 customers in more than 160 countries, providing price assessments, news, analytics, consulting services, data science tools, and industry conferences to the global energy and commodities markets. Argus assessments are used as benchmarks around the world for pricing energy, transportation, and other commodities. Customers rely on Argus’ prices for their most critical business operations including trading, contract negotiation, risk management and hedging, valuations, and financial reporting. The Company has delivered uninterrupted annual revenue growth for each of the last 40 years.

Adrian Binks, Chairman and Chief Executive of Argus Media, commented: “We are delighted that General Atlantic remains a committed partner to Argus in the next phase of our growth. Argus serves its customers around the world by navigating the challenges presented by the move to a sustainable future, which involves both traditional hydrocarbon and energy transition commodities. Our mission to bring transparency to these markets remains unchanged. I am pleased that Argus continues to be an independent business with many employees invested in the Company. I would like to express my thanks to the Hg team for their support and partnership which has been instrumental in helping Argus continue to grow.”

General Atlantic is a long-term partner to Argus, having initially bought its shares in 2016. Hg, a leading investor in European and transatlantic software and services businesses, invested in the Company in January 2020, acquiring half of General Atlantic’s stake. Given the continued strong performance of the Company, General Atlantic transitioned the remainder of its stake into a continuation fund in 2021 and is investing additional capital from this fund to increase its ownership.

Since General Atlantic’s investment in 2016, Argus has more than doubled in size and has accelerated its organic growth. FY2023 revenue grew 17% year on year, with particularly strong momentum in energy transition products, which grew 46%.

Gabriel Caillaux, Co-President, Managing Director, and Head of Climate and EMEA at General Atlantic, commented: “Argus has delivered highly consistent organic growth since our initial investment, while deepening its role as a critical provider of proprietary pricing data to the global energy and commodities markets. Over our seven-year partnership with the Company, Adrian and his team have demonstrated the quality of the business and their ability to deliver uninterrupted growth through any market backdrop. Looking ahead, Argus continues to capture growth opportunities created by market changes and the energy transition. We are excited to continue to work with a great team.”

Nic Humphries, Senior Partner at Hg, said: “It’s been a pleasure to work with Adrian and the broader Argus management team as they continue to build an exceptional global business serving the strategically important energy and commodities sectors, with a true long-term vision to support their ongoing evolution. We leave on a high, both delighted to return more capital back to our clients, whilst also being proud to have partnered and supported the business for the last four years. We wish the team and General Atlantic all the best for a successful future.”

Following the transaction, Gabriel Caillaux and Tom Hussey will continue to represent General Atlantic on the Argus board.

The transaction is expected to close in the next month and is subject to appropriate antitrust/merger controls filings. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Argus Media and its shareholders were advised by J.P. Morgan as lead financial advisor. Morgan Stanley and Evercore acted as financial advisors to General Atlantic and Hg respectively. Macfarlanes LLP, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP, and White & Case LLP acted as legal counsel to Argus Media, General Atlantic, Hg, and Adrian Binks.

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