UK private equity firm Inflexion has agreed to sell legal rankings provider Chambers and Partners to US investment group Abry Partners, the latest deal in a sector that is attracting keen investor interest.
The deal values Chambers at more than £400mn, according to a person familiar with the deal, netting Inflexion about four and half times its initial investment.
The acquisition marks private equity’s latest bet on a company that provides information to the financial services and legal industries.
Founded in 1990, Chambers is a legal research company that provides rankings of lawyers and law firms in more than 200 countries.
The rankings are designed as a quick guide to the market for businesses, including private equity firms, on the best lawyers and law firms across a range of industries and countries.
Law firms place a lot of weight on the rankings to attract business and make submissions to be included. A lawyer or law firm’s Chambers ranking is often referenced, along with quotes from clients interviewed by the directory.
Inflexion bought the company in 2018. Under private equity ownership, Chambers has reshaped its publishing business from print to an online, subscription-based digital company. It has also expanded into China and Brazil, and continued to increase its presence in the US.
Chambers has also expanded its research and sales function.
Boston-based Abry invests in the communications, media, information and business services industries, among others. The firm owns assets including Best Lawyers, a US-based lawyer-ranking company.
Companies that sell information to financial services firms have attracted significant amounts of investor capital in recent years, attracted by the dependable revenues that come from selling a specialist product to large institutions such as asset managers and banks.
Earlier this year, buyout firm Nordic Capital sold Macrobond to US investor Francisco Partners in a deal valuing the business at nearly €700mn. Last year, Permira bought Reorg for about $1.3bn.
The Chambers deal was first reported by Debtwire.