Photographer: Casper Hedberg/Bloomberg

General Atlantic Agrees to Buy Majority Stake in Argus Media

Argus Media Ltd. agreed to sell a majority stake to investment firm General Atlantic, the commodity price news service said in a statement Monday.

General Atlantic’s investment values Argus Media at almost 1 billion pounds ($1.4 billion), according to the statement.

“We’ve had a long courtship with GA, and long courtships make the best marriages,” Adrian Binks, chairman and former chief executive officer of Argus Media, said by phone. “GA were very clear from the word go that this would be a partnership, not a buyout. GA won’t interfere in the editorial side of the business. The deal has been structured so that the company’s independence isn’t at risk.”

The transaction will be completed in about two months, subject to regulatory approval, the statement shows, and the management team will remain with the business. John Bernstein and Gabriel Caillaux from General Atlantic will join the Argus board of directors once the transaction is completed.

General Atlantic is paying the equivalent of about 23.40 pounds per share, according to people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing private information.

“We’re not giving the exact details,” Caillaux, managing director at General Atlantic, said by phone. “General are buying a majority stake, while Adrian is retaining a large stake along with several other shareholders.”

Growth Opportunities

Argus can see opportunities for growth in its business emanating from the U.S. lifting a ban on crude oil exports in December, CEO Neil Bradford said by phone.

“U.S. and Asia are likely to drive growth,” Caillaux of General Atlantic said.

In November, Binks said the company hired Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch to help it move from a closely held family business to a more corporate structure.

Argus Media is a commodity price reporting agency. It was founded in 1970 and has more than 750 full-time employees, according to its website.

Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, competes with Platts, Argus and other companies in providing energy-market news and information.

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