Wednesday 18 June 2014

Village gossip - Mergermarket founder poised to leave

Here is an interesting tale for Betaville readers interested in mergers & acquisitions reporting and financial publishing. 

I have learnt that Charlie Welsh - a former Financial News M&A reporter who set up Mergermarket, the business intelligence service for thousands of dealmakers around the world - is on the verge of leaving the company he established almost fifteen years ago.

Welsh gave me a job in the early noughties at Mergermarket, where I first cut my teeth on M&A reporting. So, I guess in some ways he is partly responsible for my "professional development" as a deals reporter.

Now that we have dealt with my nostalgia, it's also worth pointing out that Welsh was one of the pioneers of modern day deals reporting at trade rag Financial News, breaking several agenda-setting M&A scoops. When he got bored of that, he got together with Caspar Hobbs, a former army major who was working as a salesman at Financial News, to buy-out a CD Rom (yes, remember those) database he had built around his network of investment banking contacts. 

Several years later, Welsh, Hobbs and Gawn Rowan Hamilton, a former Schroders corporate financier, sold their business to Pearson, publisher of the Financial Times, for about £150m. Unfortunately, I had left the business six months or so earlier to join the The Daily Telegraph, so I wasn't able to participate in the rather large pay-out to shareholders in Mergermarket. Dammit!

Pearson then sold Mergermarket late last year to private equity firm BC Partners for almost £400m.

Welsh, who is currently group editor-in-chief at the Mergermarket, tells me he is leaving on "amicable terms" with BC Partners although it is not clear what he plans to do next. "I have worked here for fifteen years and feel like a new challenge - there are no 'issues' with the new owners," said Welsh.  

Hobbs, though, left Mergermarket prior to the sale of the business to BC Partners and has been working with private equity firm Warburg Pincus on potential media deals.

He tried but ultimately failed to lead a management buy-in/buy-out of Mergermarket, whose other products include Debtwire and dealReporter, when it was being sold by Pearson last year. 
BC Partners declined to comment.    

No comments:

Post a Comment