Private equity firm LDC has sold vehicle data services business Clifford Thames to US e-commerce group OEConnection Holdings.
The sale generates a money multiple of 2.7x and IRR of 47 per cent for LDC, which backed a £50m management buyout of Clifford Thames in 2014.
Clifford Thames, which is based in Essex, manages information about millions of car parts which is used by manufacturers and leasing companies for vehicle repairs and maintenance. Its customers include Ford, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Renault and VW Group.
The business was originally founded in 1948 as a publisher of local newspapers, including the Stoke Newington and Hackney Observer. It moved into data services in the 1970s after selling off its newspaper publishing interests. It now operates in seven countries across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific and employs almost 500 people.
Since the management buyout it has made two strategic acquisitions, of AC Autoconsult in Germany and a Ford Electronic Parts Catalogue platform.
Calvin Barnett, CEO of Clifford Thames, said: “During our three-year partnership with LDC we have achieved significant scale and increased our revenues by adding to our core offering and expanding into new markets.”
Chuck Rotuno, Chairman and CEO of OEConnection Holdings, said: “Clifford Thames provides a significant platform to drive global growth for our overall business. We look forward to adding its capabilities and products to our portfolio, alongside OEC, to support the global needs of our original equipment manufacturer and dealer network partners.”
Yann Souillard, Head of LDC in London and the South, added: “Since investing in Clifford Thames, we have worked in partnership with Calvin and his management team to drive the value of the business. Three years on and it’s now perfectly placed to add its impressive offering, industry expertise and unrivalled client base to the OEConnection Holdings portfolio, which will make both businesses better placed to capitalise on growth opportunities.”