Halyard Capital Announces Acquisitions

Private equity fund Halyard Capital announced its acquisition of Harte Hanks Inc’s B2B research divisions Harte Hanks Market Intelligence and The Aberdeen Group. The purchased companies will be branded as The Aberdeen Group.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. However, Harte Hanks revealed that the two businesses comprised less than 5% of its total 2014 revenues in its official press release and that it intends to take a pretax charge of approximately $10 million in Q2 for the sale of the divisions.

“When we announced our corporate strategy last year, we described our ambition to become a leader in customer interaction,” Harte Hanks’ CEO  Robert Philpott said in the  release. “As part of this re-focusing of our core activities, we recognized the need to acquire significant new capabilities and to divest a small percentage of our existing operations. In combination with the previously announced 3Q Digital [Inc] acquisition, the sale of Aberdeen Group and Harte Hanks Market Intelligence emphasizes the continued excellent progress we are making towards our strategic goal. The expected positive impact of these actions on our financial performance underscores our commitment to delivering enhanced stockholder value and executing against our stated objectives. I want to thank our employees at Aberdeen Group and Harte Hanks Market Intelligence for their years of service and the contributions they have made to Harte Hanks. I wish them well in the next stage of their development.”

Dr. Charles Stryker—chairman of VDC, the advisory service regarding data and information services—will invest alongside Halyard and serve on the new company’s board of directors. Gary Skidmore—former Harte Hanks president—will also invest and serve as the new company’s CEO.

“I am thrilled to be teaming up with Halyard Capital and Charlie Stryker for this exciting opportunity,” Skidmore said in Halyard Capital’s press release. “Both Market Intelligence and Aberdeen are uniquely positioned, creating a fantastic opportunity to transform the vibrant technology data and content marketing space with a combined offering. Our platform will provide marketing and sales professionals with proprietary intelligence on who their ideal audiences are, what they are interested in now, and how to connect with them. And our integrated content marketing capability will allow companies to maximize this audience intelligence with improved content and storytelling tools.”

According to Halyard Capital’s release, Halyard’s purchase will allow the companies to leverage growing opportunities surrounding Big Data and content marketing. It also reads that Harte Hanks Market Intelligence will continue to expand its Computer Intelligence Technology Database, which includes installed technology, buying intentions, decision maker data, and unique predictive skills. Other intended product and service enhancements include the following: 

  • Real-time integration of incremental public and partner data sources;
  • The creation of an “always-on” content marketing subscription;
  • The creation of an SaaS platform that allows companies to seamlessly integrate and order Market Intelligence data and Aberdeen content on a real-time basis;
  • Customer communication, rebranding, and a renewed services approach that allows customers superior access to a rich inventory of data attributes and aligned, original technology content.

“We’re confident that, with our added support and investment, the combined entity will drive significant additional value for both current and future customers,” Jonathan Barnes, Halyard Capital partner, said in the company’s press release. “We are pleased to be partnering with a seasoned leader in Gary Skidmore and with Charlie Stryker, a talented executive with whom we have partnered successfully in the past. We look forward to building upon the impressive accomplishments of these two organizations and to accelerating their growth together.”

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