Robert F. Smith’s Equity Firm Sells 50% Stake in Software Company
Vista Equity Partners, the private investment firm founded by billionaire Robert F. Smith, is selling a 50% stake in Advanced, a British software company that it acquired in 2015, to BC Partners. The deal is reportedly worth about 2 billion pounds or $2.4 billion and includes debt, according to the Financial Times.
The transaction comes a year after BC Partners, a leading international private equity firm, first entered into talks with management and Vista. The new investment will be used to support Advanced’s goal to become the UK’s No. 1 provider of business software solutions and services. It currently ranks as No. 3.
“This investment is an exciting development for Advanced,” said Advanced CEO Gordon Wilson, in a statement. “Today’s business leaders are under constant pressure to innovate in order to sustain a competitive advantage. Vista and BC Partners share our vision for the future and will work to support our growth, benefitting our customers through continued improvement of our cloud-based software solutions and extending our offering through M&A and further innovation.” Wilson will continue to head Advanced as part of the transaction.
Vista purchased Advanced in a $1.14 billion acquisition deal in an all-cash transaction. “Since 2015, we have worked closely with Gordon and the Advanced team to transform the Company into a leader in business software solutions,” said Smith. “We are proud of the success the company has achieved and we are thrilled to have BC Partners join as an investment partner as we look forward to the Company’s next phase of growth.”
Smith founded Vista Equity Partners in 2000 and serves as the firm’s chairman and CEO. This year, the company was recognized as the top private equity firm on the BE 100s (BLACK ENTERPRISE’s annual list of the top black-owned companies in the nation), generating $46 billion in capital under management. In 2013, the firm was named as BE Financial Services Company of the Year and Smith was ranked as one of the Most Powerful Blacks on Wall Street. Today, Vista manages more than $50 billion in cumulative capital commitments.
In May, Smith generously donated $40 million to the graduating class of Morehouse college to cover their student loans. With a $5 billion net worth, he leads the exclusive class of black billionaires in the U.S.