Carlyle-owned DEPT expected to come to market in 2024 – sources

Breaking News 21 November

Carlyle-owned DEPT expected to come to market in 2024 – sources

Carlyle Group [NASDAQ:CG] is expected to offer its Benelux-based marketing business DEPT up for sale in 2024, three bankers tracking the situation told this news service.

This news service first reported in November 2022 that Carlyle had hired Morgan Stanley and Jefferies to consider exit options in 2023, but a sale never launched, one of the bankers familiar with the situation said.

Deteriorating market conditions and a drop in overall market valuations further postponed a potential sale process, three of the bankers said, with one adding that Carlyle expects between 15-20 times EBITDA for the business.

DEPT is one of the larger agencies in the industry and has EBITDA of around EUR 100m, one of the bankers said. The business is performing well, which is another reason as to why Carlyle is not rushing a sale, this banker added. 

The sellside could be targeting 1Q24 for a potential launch, two of the bankers said, with completion in 3Q24, one of the bankers adding, with a potential process being for sponsor buyers only. 

Carlyle was highly acquisitive in 2022, with five add-on acquisitions, namely US-based commerce agency Melon and its 100+ person team in December, Australia-based digital agency Two Bulls in September, Netherlands-based Dogstudio and US-based performance and digital marketing agency 3Q Digital backed by PSP Capital and Erie Street Capital, in May and US-based data science and software engineering agency Raybeam in January.

In 2023, DEPT only added one business to the DEPT group when it acquired India-based Tekno Point which employed around 500 Adobe specialists in February. 

Founded in 2015, DEPT works with major brands including Google [NASDAQ: GOOGLE], Audi, Twitch, Patagonia and eBay [NASDAQ: EBAY] and has a team of over 2,500 employees across 30 locations globally, according to its website. add tickers

Carlyle acquired the business in 2019 and funded the buyout with a first-out-last-out unitranche from Alcentra, carrying 4.5x leverage, as reported

At the time of publication, DEPT had a score of 21 out of 100 according to Mergermarket’s Likely to Exit (LTE) predictive algorithm*, with the sponsor exit rate by region and sponsor exit rate by sector metrics weighing heavily on the score. 

DEPT did not respond to requests for comment. Carlyle declined to comment. 

*Mergermarket's LTE predictive analytics assign a score to sponsor-backed companies to help track and predict when an exit could occur through M&A, an IPO, a direct listing or a deSPAC transaction. 

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