CapVest Acquires Datasite

Sep 1, 2021

5 min

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In late 2020, funds managed by London-based private equity house CapVest acquired St. Paul-Minneapolis M&A industry leader Datasite. It was CapVest’s first venture into the North American market. So, who stands to benefit from the acquisition?

DataSite company description

Datasite markets itself as a SaaS provider that covers the entire M&A lifecycle, from pre-deal preparation, marketing, and due diligence to integration. 

It was founded on January 1, 1968, as Merrill Corporation. At that time, it was a financial-printing business. Since, it has rebranded as Datasite, a name that better projects how it sees itself.

Following on the heels of Datasite’s digital transformation in 2018 was a 30% increase in revenue and a move to new downtown headquarters modeled on Datasite’s New York, London, and Hong Kong locations. 

The physical move has also been symbolic of the Merrill Datasite evolution. 

“We’ve evolved into an agile, global fintech software company and the Datasite name better represents our mission to lead the M&A industry beyond the virtual data room to a digitally-enabled future across the entire M&A lifecycle,” says Datasite CEO Rusty Wiley.

It boasts customers in 180 countries and approximately 750 employees in 25 locations scattered across the globe.

CapVest company description

CapVest is a private equity house established in London in 1999.

With approximately $5 billion in commitments and 14 acquisitions under its belt, CapVest has completed over 150 transactions globally.

It sees itself as an investor — not an agent.

Why did CapVest acquire Datasite?

The acquisition of Datasite is CapVest’s first major investment in an American-based company. Previously it had been known for mid-market European deals.

Both sides moved fast. 

The reason for the haste may have been that the two were a very good fit for each other.

Significantly, Wiley also mentions that Datasite’s previous investors were on their way out when CapVest instigated talks.

Appearing to sense the timing was critical, CapVest sought backing from Blackstone Credit in the form of innovative debt and equity financing that includes a $950 million-equivalent unitranche loan.

Sources say that while CapVest could have undertaken the acquisition in a more traditional way, it would have limited CapVest in its freedom of movement. 

Furthermore, the additional time required could have proved a serious handicap as the market heats up in response to vaccine optimism.

Following the acquisition, CapVest left Datasite’s existing management intact and began to steer them towards growth through investment.

Perspectives on the acquisition

“CapVest has a history of transforming the size and scale of its portfolio companies so these companies can realize their full potential,” says Datasite’s Wiley.

While declining to name specific numbers related to the acquisition, Wiley has projected continued double-digit growth through 2021, something he appeared to make good on with Datasite’s own hot July acquisition of the Canadian virtual data room provider Firmex.“Datasite is focused on providing global dealmakers with innovative technology that helps them accelerate and improve outcomes across the entire deal lifecycle,” says Wiley in a press release following the acquisition of Firmex. “The acquisition of Firmex supports our aggressive growth strategy into new markets, including supporting a wider range of use cases.”