Dun & Bradstreet Privatization

Dun & Bradstreet Logo

Dun & Bradstreet completed its privatization Friday morning.  The firm is now controlled by CC Capital, Cannae Holdings, Bilcar, LLC, Black Knight, Inc. and funds affiliated with Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P.  The original offer was tendered on August 8, 2018.

As previously announced, the firm will be led by new CEO Anthony Jabbour and new President Stephen C. Daffron.  William P. Foley II has been named the Executive Chairman of Dun & Bradstreet’s Board of Directors.

The new leadership team indicated that the mission of the firm, “to help our customers improve their business performance through data and insights,” is unchanged.  Likewise, there are no significant changes in direction. “We plan to invest in several key areas to strengthen our core data assets, create high-value analytics, enhance our technological capabilities, and deliver a top-notch customer experience.”

The firm is positioning privatization as a strategic advantage.  “We now have greater flexibility to build a competitive advantage in the vibrant market for data and insights; an edge that we are confident will benefit our customers. Now more than ever, we will have the opportunity to offer solutions to accelerate revenue, reduce cost, manage risk and transform businesses. We plan to invest in several key areas to strengthen our core data assets, create high-value analytics, enhance our technological capabilities, and deliver a top-notch customer experience.”

“For 177 years, our mission has been to help customers leverage data and insights to improve business performance. The next evolution of Dun & Bradstreet’s history will expand the value we bring to our customers around the globe. The journey ahead is a big one for all of us, and the potential, vast. Our executive team and employees around the globe are excited to work with our customers and partners on this next chapter in our iconic brand’s history.”


Dun & Bradstreet Announcement

Dun & Bradstreet was purchased by the investor group for $145 per share ($6.9 billion when including acquired debt of $1.5 billion)

Dun & Bradstreet posted $1.7 billion in 2017 revenue.  The firm employs 4,900 globally and provides risk management (supplier and credit risk) and sales & marketing services. Key product include RMI, D&B Hoovers, D&B Optimizer, and Audience Solutions. Its D-U-N-S Numbering system is the de facto global company numbering system and often required by banks and federal contracting. Other key assets include their global company linkages and the WorldBase file of 300 million active and inactive companies.

Dun & Bradstreet Privatization Receives Final Approval

Update: The transaction officially closed on February 8th.

“ As a private company, Dun & Bradstreet is well positioned to reinvigorate growth and I look forward to partnering with [new CEO] Anthony [Jabbour], [new President] Stephen [C. Daffron] and the Board in my new role. Building on Dun & Bradstreet’s strong platform as a global leader in business insights, I look forward to improving growth and customers’ experience, while increasing operating efficiencies to deliver enhanced business solutions across the world.”


William P. Foley II, Executive Chairman of Dun & Bradstreet’s Board of Directors

Dun & Bradstreet Logo
Dun & Bradstreet Logo

It looks like the Dun & Bradstreet privatization is going better than Theresa May’s Brexit plans.  The UK Financial Conduct Authority approved the sale of Dun & Bradstreet to an investor group led by CC Capital, Cannae Holdings, Bilcar, LLC, Black Knight, Inc. and funds affiliated with Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P.  At this point, all governmental approvals have been granted.

The deal entered a fifteen day debt financing window which ends on February 7th.  The deal is expected to close no later than February 11th.

Redefining the D-U-N-S Number

Dun & Bradstreet is looking to modernize its D-U-N-S Numbering system to support digital businesses which may not have a phone number or physical location.  D-U-N-S Numbers, which are the de facto global company numbering system, were developed by Dun & Bradstreet in 1963 and have long captured business locations including headquarters, subsidiaries, and branches along with firmographics and corporate linkage.  Currently, there are over 300 million D-U-N-S numbered active and inactive global businesses.  But this model fails to capture the emerging nature of digital businesses and the gig economy.  The expanded definition will shift from location to “point of commerce.”

“You can be a digital business.  You can be a business that is a two-person startup right out of a coffee shop and you’re accepting PayPal as your form of payment.  That doesn’t require a physical address anymore.  You could be part of the gig economy.  You can be an Uber driver.  You can have an Airbnb property.  Those don’t necessarily fit under the mold of traditional businesses,” said Saleem Khan, Digital Leader of Data Innovation at Dun & Bradstreet.

“That idea of point of commerce subsumes everything.  It subsumes the digital location.  It includes things like the Internet of Things and the gig economy as well.


Saleem Khan, Dun & Bradstreet, Leader of Data Innovation

The rise of the Internet of Things also calls for a broader definition of businesses to assist with master data management and business linkage.

“There are 11.2 billion Internet connected devices out there, half of which are doing B2B commerce,” said Khan.  “It’s a ship coming into a port and being scanned automatically.  Wouldn’t it be nice to know which businesses are tied to that particular Internet connected device?  And so, with respect to the D-U-N-S Number, what we’re doing is moving away from business at a physical location in favor of business at a point of commerce.” An expanded definition also benefits government agencies and financial services companies which often require D-U-N-S Numbers for business verification (e.g. anti-money laundering, know your customer), sub-contracting, and credit and supplier risk analyses.

Dun & Bradstreet Privatization Update

Dun & Bradstreet Logo
Dun & Bradstreet Logo

Dun & Bradstreet continues to dribble out news about its privatization plan.  Last week the firm announced that Motive Partners has joined the acquisition group and that Stephen C. Daffron, Co-Founder and Industry Partner of Motive Partners, will assume the role of President upon transaction close.

Two weeks ago Black Knight announced that it is acquiring a $375 million stake in Dun & Bradstreet.  Once the transaction closes, Anthony Jabbour, Black Knight’s CEO, will assume the Dun & Bradstreet CEO position. Black Knight’s Executive Chairman William P. Foley II will serve in a similar position at Dun & Bradstreet.

Black Knight describes itself as “a leading provider of integrated software, data and analytics solutions that facilitate and automate many of the business processes across the homeownership life cycle.”

“With an impressive 177-year legacy and the support of a phenomenal group of investors, Dun & Bradstreet is entering an important next chapter in its evolution as a company.  I am excited by the opportunities in leading Dun & Bradstreet and look forward to working closely with management, Bill and the rest of the consortium and continuing the Company’s long history of excellence in helping customers and partners around the world.”

Anthony Jabbour, Incoming CEO of Dun & Bradstreet

Dun & Bradstreet shareholders have already approved the $6.5 billion transaction which is expected to close no later than Q1 2019.  Other investors include CC Capital, Cannae Holdings and Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. 

Last month, Dun & Bradstreet shareholders approved the deal.  Dun & Bradstreet still needs approval from the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service and the UK Financial Conduct Authority.

Motive is a sector specialist investment firm focused on technology-enabled financial services companies.

Daffron served as the CEO of Interactive Data and held senior positions at Morgan Stanley, Renaissance Technologies, Goldman Sachs and Motive Partners.

“I am excited by this unique opportunity to work side-by-side with Anthony [Jabbour] in leading Dun & Bradstreet and look forward to working closely with management, Bill [Foley] and the rest of the investor consortium to help unlock the value within this renowned company,” said Daffron.  “Dun & Bradstreet is entering an important chapter in its evolution as a company and will be well positioned as a private company to increase operating efficiencies and effectively execute the company’s growth strategy.”

2017 North American Market Size

 

 

North American Sales Intelligence Market Sizing Model (Excel)

The 2017 Market Size of North American Sales Intelligence Vendors. Includes vendor product features, market share, and notes. GZ Consulting Copyright 2018.

$750.00

For the past few years, I have been sizing the North American Sales Intelligence Market.  This is the largest of the markets as Europe and AsiaPac are more fragmented (the UK is the only other mature market).

In 2017, I estimated the market at $950 million with LinkedIn Sales Navigator as the top vendor.  While new firms continue to enter, the top four vendors earn two of every three dollars in the industry.  The top four  concentration increased 7% last year, mostly due to the acquisitions of Avention and RainKing.

LI SN Market Share
The LinkedIn Market Share Section of the 2017 North American Sales Intelligence Market Sizing

The industry grew 17% over the past year with the majority of this growth being captured by LinkedIn Sales Navigator, DiscoverOrg, and ZoominfoTechTarget, which was off my radar in 2016, has also seen rapid growth in 2017 and 2018.

DiscoverOrg acquired RainKing at the end of August 2017 so two-thirds of its revenue was recognized as RainKing and one-third as part of DiscoverOrg.  Combined, the two firms earned around $118 million least year with DiscoverOrg ending the year with a $130 million plus ARR.  DiscoverOrg raked in two of every three dollars within the technology sales intelligence sub-segment.

LinkedIn holds a nearly 30% market share.  It has grown rapidly while remaining under the radar of its peers as it is often used as a complementary service to other sales and marketing intelligence services.

Data.com’s 2017 revenue was stable but Dun & Bradstreet forecasted a 30% drop in 2018 (D&B is a revenue share partner on the service).  I anticipate that much of this revenue will shift to other vendors in 2018 and 2019.  Dun & Bradstreet is in a strong position to take much of this share, but other vendors are pushing hard to acquire Data.com clients.

Zoominfo was ahead of the other sales intelligence vendors in recognizing the value of adding marketing functionality alongside their sales tools.  This has put them in a strong position for data services.  They also built the deepest set of global contacts with emails and direct dials and were early to build out connectors (CRM, MAP, Sales Engagement, and Chrome).

I am making my market model available for license (See PayPal button at top) as an Excel spreadsheet.  It includes revenue numbers by company along with market share, key features, and notes.

True Influence InsightBase 2.0

True Influence LogoTrue Influence rolled out version 2.0 of its InsightBase ABM platform with enhanced intent data, improved contact data, and an Advanced Relevance Engine which ranks accounts according to ABM demand level. 

InsightBase provides intent analytics across 4,000 business topics and fifteen countries.  Intent is then matched to contacts, firmographics, and location-level technographics.

According to the firm, InsightBase 2.0 “combines the most advanced data and analytic technologies to create a comprehensive monitoring solution that specifically identifies Intent Signals, which are proven pieces of data that indicate buying interest and purchase acceleration. These signals are collected in real-time as the result of web-based activities – such as web impressions, searches, email opens and more — to create a profile showing which companies and locations are actively in the market for a specific solution.”

In March, True Influence announced a partnership with Dun & Bradstreet to match and enrich company and contact data. Other partners include Zoominfo (contacts), Aberdeen Group (Technographics), and Bombora (intent).

True Influence offers connectors for Marketo, Eloqua, and Salesforce.

“Today, companies tend to rely on first-party lists or behavioral data to plan their B2B marketing approach, but that is just a small piece of the puzzle,” said True Influence CEO Brian Giese. “The fact is, B2B decision makers take a complex journey before making buying choices by conducting research for their next big purchase. To be truly competitive, it’s critical to have a complete, worldwide picture of your prospects’ overall online purchase journey.”

Dun & Bradstreet Being Taken Private

DNB Logo
Dun & Bradstreet logos

I was going to be writing about yesterday’s #FlipMyFunnel conference keynote given by Terminus CEO Sangram Vajre this morning, but I woke up to news that Dun & Bradstreet is being taken private.  So, I’ll recap Vajre’s discussion of humanizing B2B and the need for authenticity in a later post.

Dun & Bradstreet announced that it will be taken private by CC Capital, Cannae Holdings, and funds affiliated with Thomas H. Lee Partners LP, for $5.38 billion in cash. Shareholders will receive $145 per share, an 18% premium over its Wednesday close. The acquisition includes $1.5 billion in assumed debt.

The deal is subject to shareholder approval and is expected to close within six months.

Dun & Bradstreet has a venerable history going back 177 years.  Employees include several future nineteenth century Presidents.  The firm, however, has struggled in recent years to grow revenues, particularly in its Risk Management Solutions group.  Sales & Marketing Solutions, which makes up a bit over 40% of the company, has posted slow but steady growth.

Dun & Bradstreet has some market leading assets:

  • The D-U-N-S number is the de facto global numbering system for companies.  It is often required for loans and is necessary for bidding on US government contracts.
  • The WorldBase company file contains global linkages, Tradestyles, and credit scores for 300 million active, dormant, and defunct companies making it valuable for credit risk, supplier risk, master data management, research, client onboarding, marketing, and sales.
  • The Global Company Authority (FKA NetProspex) provides global directors, executives, and mid-level managers.
  • D&B Optimizer for Marketing delivers cloud-based data hygiene and enrichment for companies and contacts.
  • D&B Hoovers (FKA Avention) continues to improve with the addition of the WorldBase file, First Research industry overviews, and Global Company Authority file to the Sales Acceleration platform.
  • Digital delivery solutions include the D&B Direct API, connectors for CRM and Marketing Automation platforms, B2B programmatic marketing, and visitor ID (the mapping of anonymous website visitors to their firm).

The company has a strong data foundation and has been shifting delivery of its product line to the cloud, but its sales and marketing products have not had significant growth.  Instead, Dun & Bradstreet has seen companies such as DiscoverOrg, LinkedIn (Sales Navigator), TechTarget, and Zoominfo enjoy most of the growth in the Sales and Marketing Intelligence space.

Funding will be a combination of debt and equity. The deal includes a 45-day “go-shop” period during which alternative offers will be welcome.

Thomas J. Manning will continue as the CEO through the closing of the transaction while James N. Fernandez, a director of the Company since 2004 and Lead Director since February 2018, will continue as the Chairman.

“Today’s announcement is the culmination of a thoughtful and comprehensive review of the value creation opportunities available to the Company as part of a full portfolio and business assessment and exploration of strategic alternatives with multiple financial sponsors. As a result of this process, the Dun & Bradstreet Board of Directors unanimously determined that this all-cash transaction with the Investor Group is in the best interest of our shareholders and our Company,” said Manning.

William P. Foley II, Chairman of Cannae Holdings, said, “In an increasingly data-driven world, Dun & Bradstreet’s insight-driven business model and interconnectivity across industries has positioned the Company for continued success. We are excited to grow the Company, increase operating efficiencies and improve the Dun & Bradstreet customer experience by providing enhanced business solutions.”