NEW YORKApril 23, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Vestar Capital Partners (“Vestar”), a leading U.S. middle-market private equity firm, today announced the closing of a $1.2 billion single-asset continuation vehicle for its stake in Circana (or the “Company”), a leading global advisor on the complexity of consumer behavior. Blackstone Strategic Partners and HarbourVest Partners acted as lead investors in the transaction.

Vestar led a recapitalization of Information Resources Inc (“IRI”), Circana’s predecessor, with IRI’s original control shareholder New Mountain Capital (“NMC”) in 2018. In 2022, IRI merged with NPD Group (“NPD”), a Hellman & Friedman (“H&F”) portfolio company, to form Circana, now jointly owned by H&F, Vestar, NMC and management.

“We’re excited to reaffirm our support of Circana and its management team through this innovative transaction, which will provide important new committed capital for growth and investment. Vestar partnered with New Mountain Capital and management to drive significant value creation at IRI, and to catalyze the merger with NPD to create Circana as a leading global technology, analytics and data provider with an outstanding management team and excellent economic model,” said Dan O’Connell, Founder and CEO of Vestar. “We are pleased to offer existing investors the opportunity to redeem their ownership and generate liquidity at a very attractive return, or roll their interests into the continuation vehicle, while at the same time welcoming new investors to the Vestar family who have endorsed the future opportunity for Circana.”

The market-based process established an attractive alternative for existing Vestar investors to consider full and partial liquidity or rollover while providing the Company with access to committed capital for accretive initiatives.

“We are pleased to continue our partnership with Circana’s management and investor group as we see many more opportunities ahead for both organic and inorganic growth,” said Norm Alpert, Founding Partner and President at Vestar. “More than 7,000 brands and retailers worldwide rely on Circana’s unparalleled technology, advanced analytics and cross-industry data delivered at world-class speed to gain a complete view of consumers and their markets. We believe there are abundant opportunities for Circana to deepen its relationships with existing customers, while also expanding into new markets and regions, which will be fueled by this new investment.”

“Circana, including the Vestar team, has done an incredible job building a mission-critical partner for the world’s leading and most innovative brands and retailers across a broad range of industries. Partnering with Vestar to drive the next chapter of the company’s growth is another example of our long-standing strategy to identify and invest behind key themes like information services, while partnering with leading managers to provide custom liquidity solutions,” said Patrick Jennings, Managing Director at Blackstone Strategic Partners.

“We are excited to partner with Vestar on this significant transaction, which reflects our conviction on Circana’s promising future,” said Dustin Willard, Managing Director at HarbourVest Partners. “Our experience executing secondary processes aligned well with Vestar in order to provide existing investors with options for liquidity or extending their ownership of a company with strong growth potential.”

Evercore and Jefferies LLC served as financial advisors and Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal advisor to Vestar on the transaction. Proskauer Rose LLP served as legal advisor to Blackstone Strategic Partners and Sidley Austin LLP served as legal advisor to Harbourvest Partners on the transaction.