Private equity, Content

Private Equity Firm OEP Invests in CDI LLC

Private equity firm One Equity Partners has invested in Computer Design & Integration LLC (CDI LLC), a major IT solutions provider with hybrid cloud and service management expertise.

This is M&A deal Number 6 that ChannelE2E has covered in 2020. See complete M&A deal list here.

CDI did not say whether One Equity's stake represented a minority or majority position in the IT solutions provider. And Financial terms of the CDI deal were not disclosed.

CDI and One Equity Partners: Relationships to Note

CDI, founded in 1995, has a corporate headquarters in New York City, as well as office locations in Teterboro, New Jersey; Boston, Massachusetts; and Atlanta, Georgia.

Perhaps in anticipation of this deal, CDI sold off its SMB clientele to WorkSmart in October 2018.

Fast forward to present day, and it's clear that CDI has enterprise-class consulting and managed services capabilities -- both on-premises and across public clouds. Indeed, the company has close partnerships with Cohesity, Pure Storage, ServiceNow, Varonis and VMware, and is a Dell EMC Titanium partner. Moreover, CDI was one of the first MSPs to support VMware Cloud on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

CDI will leverage the One Equity Partners relationship to make "major investments in its public cloud, security, application re-platforming, DevOps and IT service and operations management" expertise. Also, CDI will expand its talent pool and geographic reach, the company said.

For its part, One Equity Partners (OEP) has experience in the IT consulting and software sectors. The private equity firm's key investments have included SAP partner Rizing, and digital transformation specialist Orion Business Information, OEP notes.

The private equity firm was founded in 2001, and spun out of JP Morgan in 2015.

One Equity Partners Invests in CDI: Executive Perspectives

Eric Bakker, president, CDI
Eric Bakker, president, CDI

In a prepared statement about the OEP deal, CDI President Eric Bakker said:

“We look forward to our partnership with OEP, a firm with a deep understanding of the IT consulting sector that is exceptionally well-positioned to help us identify new organic and inorganic opportunities supporting our continued growth in North America and elsewhere."

Added Chip Schorr, senior managing director at OEP:

“We look forward to supporting the highly talented CDI team with identifying acquisitions of complementary businesses that help them meet the growing domestic and global demand for multi-cloud next generation technology that feels ‘invisible and agile’.

Carlo Padovano, a managing director at OEP, also offered:

"CDI provides its customers with the right tools to implement an effective IT strategy through fully leveraging the cloud to create a seamless user experience and comply with enterprise and data security standards."

Rich Falcone, president of sales at CDI, concluded:

“OEP’s vision is fully aligned with our vision for growing CDI into additional vertical industries and geographic markets. Enterprises are seeking to implement solutions that function effectively in today’s hybrid cloud operating model, where speed, agility and a digitally-driven user-experience have become paramount.”

IT Service Provider Valuations: ChannelE2E Estimates

To reiterate, CDI did not disclose financial details for the One Equity Partners deal.

In some rare instances, we’ve seen some MSP valuations reach 8X to 10X annual EBITDA. But ChannelE2E cautions managed IT service provider (MSP) buyers, sellers and financiers: Those lofty valuations are extremely rare deals, typically involving larger MSPs with strong annual recurring revenue growth and healthy profit margins. Or in some cases, a desperate buyer willing to overpay.

The more reasonable valuation ChannelE2E has heard is 6.5X annual EBITDA — with many deals ranging from 4X (yes, that low) to 8X annual EBITDA, based on a range of factors (cash up front vs. earnout, percentage of revenues from monthly recurring services, etc.), according to ChannelE2e interviews with key M&A sources.

To estimate your potential valuation, check out the MSP Valuations worksheet from Evergreen Services Group, a private equity-backed team that has acquired and/or invested in  more than a dozen MSPs.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.