Kirkland & Ellis LLP is representing private equity investment firm Thoma Bravo LLC in its CA$1.58 billion ($1.21 billion) acquisition announced Friday of Canadian digital automotive marketplace Trader Corp. from funds controlled by private equity outfit Apax Partners.
Thoma Bravo’s acquisition of Trader is expected to close by the fourth quarter of 2016, the firm said. Apax paid $762 million in 2011 to acquire Trader Corp. from Yellow Media Inc.
“We’re extremely impressed by Trader’s growth into the largest and most trusted digital automotive marketplace in Canada,” Holden Spaht, a managing partner at Thoma Bravo, said in a statement. “We look forward to partnering with [Trader President and CEO] Sebastian Baldwin and the entire Trader team in their commitment to innovation and accelerating the use of Trader’s current and future software solutions.”
Trader Corp.’s online properties autoTRADER.ca, autoHEBDO.net and Autos.ca have 13 million visits per month and are used by roughly 5,000 dealers for listings of about 450,000 vehicles, according to Thoma Bravo.
“Trader is well positioned to continue providing high return-on-investment products to its customer base,” Thoma Bravo principal Arvindh Kumar said in a statement. “We’re excited to collaborate with Trader to expand its product portfolio organically and through strategic investments and acquisitions.”
Representatives for Apax Partners weren't immediately available for comment on Friday.
The deal is Kirkland’s third representation of Thoma Bravo on announced transactions in the last month. Previously, Kirkland represented Thoma Bravo in its agreement to acquire analytics visualization firm Qlik for approximately $3 billion and its agreement to acquire supply chain network Elemica for an undisclosed amount.
The Qlik deal confirmed reports from earlier this year that billionaire Paul Singer’s hedge fund Elliott Management Corp., which disclosed a 10.8 percent stake in the firm in March, was pushing Qlik to sell.
Qlik said June 2 that Thoma Bravo paid Qlik stockholders $30.50 per share, a modest bump from its $28.97 closing price on June 1 but a 40 percent increase over Qlik’s average price of $21.83 over the 10 days before Elliott disclosed an 8.8 percent stake in March. Elliott upped that stake two points three weeks later, according to a regulatory filing.
Thoma Bravo currently manages private equity funds representing about $16 billion of equity commitments, according to the firm.
The Kirkland team leading the Trader Corp. deal includes corporate partners Theodore Peto and Bradley Reed and associates Maggie Flores and Kyle Elder.
Michael Whitcombe from McMillan LLP also advised Thoma Bravo.
Legal counsel information for Apax Partners was unavailable.
Evercore served as mergers and acquisitions adviser.
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