Centerbridge Acquires $1.3B AHEAD Enterprise Cloud MSP
Private equity firm Centerbridge Partners LP has acquired enterprise cloud MSP and digital transformation specialist AHEAD from Court Square Capital Partners. Moreover, Berkshire Partners invested in the deal, and the AHEAD management team will retain a “significant” position in the business, the companies said. Financial terms were not disclosed.
This is M&A deal 353 that ChannelE2E has covered so far in 2020. See the full M&A deal list here.
Over the last five years, AHEAD grew revenues from $365 million to more than $1.3 billion in 2020 — though an undisclosed portion of that growth involved M&A deals. Chief among them was the merger of AHEAD, Data Blue and Sovereign Systems in 2019.
Also of note: The company’s professional services grew from $18 million to more than $100 million—an average annual growth rate of 41 percent—AHEAD says. That growth also likely includes some M&A revenue. A key deal to note: The January 2020 buyout of VMware and Pivotal partner Platform Consulting Group.
Roll all those deal’s together, and AHEAD’s expertise now spans cloud, enterprise service management, enterprise monitoring, analytics and cloud-native application development, the company says.
AHEAD Acquired: Executive Perspectives
In a prepared statement about the new ownership model, Daniel Adamany, CEO of AHEAD, said:
“We’ve enjoyed our partnership with Court Square and are thankful for their early support of the AHEAD journey. The Centerbridge investment will help us continue to innovate and enhance our offerings in an effort to help clients transform and create more agile and efficient applications, operations and platform. This is a pivotal moment in our history, and we can’t wait to get to work with our new partners.”
Added Jared Hendricks, senior managing director at Centerbridge:
“With its sophisticated enterprise software and hardware solutions, as well as its growing professional services business, AHEAD attracts a large and loyal customer base with a highly compelling growth trajectory.”
Noted Chris Litchford, managing director at Centerbridge:
“A client-focused culture is the foundation for the company’s product and service offerings, driving customer satisfaction and growth. We look forward to partnering with AHEAD on its next phase of innovation and growth.”
Concluded Jeff Vogel, partner at Court Square:
“We are grateful to have partnered alongside the AHEAD management team. The company has grown tremendously during our investment hold and we’re excited for the opportunity going forward for AHEAD and their new partners.”
Both Centerbridge and Berkshire Partners have extensive experience in the IT market. Indeed, Centerbridge acquired IBM’s marketing software business in April 2019. Also, Berkshire Partners acquired Masergy Communications — a global managed service provider with SD-WAN expertise — in 2016.
AHEAD Acquired: Experts Who Advised on the Deal
Advisors involved in the AHEAD acquisition included:
- Guggenheim Securities served as exclusive financial advisor to AHEAD and Court Square.
- Dechert LLP served as legal counsel to AHEAD and Court Square.
- Jefferies LLC, RBC Capital Markets and Deutsche Bank served as exclusive financial advisors to Centerbridge.
- RBC Capital Markets, Deutsche Bank, Barclays, KKR Capital Markets and Macquarie Capital are providing financing for the deal.
- Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal counsel to Centerbridge Partners. Ropes & Gray LLP served as legal counsel to Berkshire Partners.