ABRY Partners and Veronis Suhler Stevenson Acquire Thomsons Online Benefits

ABRY Partners and Veronis Suhler Stevenson Acquire Thomsons Online Benefits

ABRY Partners has acquired Thomsons Online Benefits, a SaaS benefit and pension administration and consulting services company. Co-investing with ABRY was Veronis Suhler Stevenson. The remaining shares are held by the existing management team and staff led by CEO Michael Whitfield and managing director Chris Bruce, who together founded the company in 2000. ABRY will make additional funds available to enable the company to make acquisitions, and to expand both its global and UK regional footprint.

“Thomsons has had a period of phenomenal growth and success within the last 12 months especially, seeing earnings almost trebling. Add this to their award-winning technology, strong management team, impressive growth over the last ten years, and massive UK and global market opportunities, we saw this as too good an opportunity to miss. We are really excited to be investing in Thomsons with both the UK and global markets that they lead being at a tipping point. We expect Thomsons to dominate their space for many years to come and will be looking for other opportunities in the UK and abroad in the near future,” said Brian St Jean of ABRY Partners.

Thomsons provides a complete outsourced benefits administration service through their benefits management SaaS product (“Darwin”). Darwin software provides a one-stop platform that allows customers, employees and benefit providers to make real-time changes and analysis to their benefit plans. The company’s client base is a mixture of UK mid-market and multi-national corporations. Founded in 2000, Thomsons is headquartered in London with additional offices in Singapore and Romania (www.thomsons.com).

“Thomsons’ SaaS implementation of its employee benefit managements system offers a good mix of current technology and a complex business requirement coming together to solve a real customer problem. The underlying technology employed to solve the business problem is straight forward but the business problem itself is both complex and critical, a good combination to deliver value,” said Hal Greenberg, Co-Manager, VSS Structured Capital Funds.

ABRY Partners invests in the media, communications and information sectors. ABRY is currently investing ABRY Partners VII (a $1.6 billion fully-capitalized traditional private equity fund), ABRY Senior Equity III (a $750 million fully-capitalized senior equity/mezzanine fund) and ABRY Advanced Securities Fund II (a $1.2 billion fully-capitalized senior debt fund). The firm is headquartered in Boston (www.abry.com).

Veronis Suhler Stevenson is a private equity and debt capital fund management company that invests in the media, information and education industries in North America and Europe. The firm provides capital for buyouts, recapitalizations, growth financings and strategic acquisitions to companies and management teams with a goal to build companies both organically and through a focused add-on acquisition program. Since the closing of the first VSS buyout fund in 1987, VSS has managed four buyout funds and two structured capital funds with aggregate committed capital in excess of $3.1 billion. The six funds have to date invested approximately $2.8 billion in 72 portfolio companies which have in turn completed over 320 add-on acquisitions. Veronis Suhler Stevenson is based in New York (www.vss.com).

© 2013 PEPD • Private Equity’s Leading News Magazine • 3-12-13

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