Infront acquires VWD to become leading European financial market solutions provider
Infront ASA today entered into an agreement to acquire 100% of the shares in vwd Group GmbH (“VWD”) thereby becoming the third largest provider of financial market data to professional investors in Europe. The purchase price of EUR 130 million will be financed by an equity rights issue of NOK 240 million and a bond issue of EUR 105 million, both fully underwritten. The seller of VWD is a fund managed by The Carlyle Group.
“When we listed in 2017, it was with the ambition of becoming a top three provider of financial terminals in Europe within five years. Now, only 18 months after the IPO, we have delivered on that ambition with the acquisition of VWD, and of Market Connect late last year,” said Kristian Nesbak, CEO and co-founder of Infront.
“We are two highly complementary businesses in terms of customers, products and geographical strongholds. Together we will reach an even wider customer base, explore significant cross- and upsell opportunities and capture cost synergies from consolidating data feeds and other efficiencies,” continued Nesbak.
After the completed acquisition, Infront will have approximately 3,600 customers and 90,000 end users. Revenue in 2018 was in excess of NOK 1 billion including VWD and Market Connect.
VWD is a leading German provider of comprehensive solutions covering data and feed, portfolio and advisory, regulatory and calculation, and publication and distribution solutions. With approximately 400 employees and headquarters in Frankfurt, the company has established a strong market position in the DACH and Benelux regions of Europe. Infront, with 140 employees, is market leader in the Nordics, and has shown strong growth in new markets such as the UK, South Africa and Italy with its professional and user-friendly real-time solutions for financial market data, trading, analysis and news. Together, Infront and VWD will be a leading full-service provider to the European financial markets, posing a concrete challenge to the established American solutions.
“It’s high time a European company challenges the big USA-based players that until now have been able to ask unreasonably high prices. Our size and diversity will promote efficiency and profitability, and we aim to gain market share,” said Nesbak.
The transaction is accretive for Infront as measured against the past month’s volume-weighted average share price (VWAP), and the company has identified initial cost savings of NOK 25 million kroner from consolidating data feeds and licenses to be realized in the first 12 months after closing with further cost savings expected over time from operational efficiencies and scaling effects. Subject to regulatory clearance, the parties expect to complete the transaction in the second quarter of 2019.