Centerbridge to Acquire AHEAD from Court Square, Setting the Stage for Next Phase of Innovation and Growth
Investment will enable the enterprise cloud leader to expand its digital solutions portfolio and geographic reach
CHICAGO – September 1, 2020 — AHEAD, a leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions, today announced a definitive agreement for funds advised by Centerbridge Partners, L.P., a leading private investment firm, to acquire a majority stake in the company. In addition, funds managed by Berkshire Partners LLC will purchase a minority stake in AHEAD, while the AHEAD management team will continue to own a significant position in the business.
With support from Centerbridge, a deeply experienced investor in enterprise services, software and hardware businesses, AHEAD is well-positioned to accelerate its market leadership in enterprise cloud infrastructure and grow its offerings, including through the expansion of its services and partnerships, in the vital areas of intelligent operations and cloud-native application development.
Over the last five years, as a portfolio company of Court Square Capital Partners, AHEAD grew revenues from $365 million to more than $1.3 billion in 2020, in the process acquiring four firms. During this same period, AHEAD’s professional services business grew from $18 million to more than $100 million—an average annual growth rate of 41 percent—as the company expanded its services capabilities in the areas of cloud, enterprise service management and enterprise monitoring and analytics.
“We’ve enjoyed our partnership with Court Square and are thankful for their early support of the AHEAD journey. The Centerbridge investment will help us continue to innovate and enhance our offerings in an effort to help clients transform and create more agile and efficient applications, operations and platforms,” said Daniel Adamany, CEO of AHEAD. “This is a pivotal moment in our history, and we can’t wait to get to work with our new partners.”
“With its sophisticated enterprise software and hardware solutions, as well as its growing professional services business, AHEAD attracts a large and loyal customer base with a highly compelling growth trajectory,” said Jared Hendricks, senior managing director at Centerbridge.
“A client-focused culture is the foundation for the company’s product and service offerings, driving customer satisfaction and growth,” added Chris Litchford, managing director at Centerbridge. “We look forward to partnering with AHEAD on its next phase of innovation and growth.”
“We are grateful to have partnered alongside the AHEAD management team. The company has grown tremendously during our investment hold and we’re excited for the opportunity going forward for AHEAD and their new partners,” said Jeff Vogel, partner at Court Square.
Guggenheim Securities, LLC served as exclusive financial advisor to AHEAD and Court Square on the transaction. Dechert LLP served as legal counsel to AHEAD and Court Square. Jefferies LLC, RBC Capital Markets and Deutsche Bank served as exclusive financial advisors to Centerbridge. RBC Capital Markets, Deutsche Bank, Barclays, KKR Capital Markets and Macquarie Capital are providing financing for the deal. Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal counsel to Centerbridge Partners. Ropes & Gray LLP served as legal counsel to Berkshire Partners.
AHEAD builds platforms for digital business. By weaving together advances in enterprise cloud infrastructure, intelligent operations, and modern applications, we help enterprises deliver on the promise of digital transformation. Learn more at aheadweb.wpengine.com.
About Centerbridge Partners
Centerbridge Partners, L.P. is a private investment management firm employing a flexible approach across investment disciplines—from private equity to credit and related strategies, and real estate—in an effort to find the most attractive opportunities for our investors and business partners. The Firm was founded in 2005 and as of June 30, 2020 has approximately $26 billion in capital under management with offices in New York and London. Centerbridge is dedicated to partnering with world-class management teams across targeted industry sectors and geographies to help companies achieve their operating and financial objectives. For more information, please visit www.centerbridge.com.
About Berkshire Partners
Berkshire Partners, a Boston-based investment firm, has made more than 130 private equity investments since its founding over 30 years ago. Berkshire has developed industry experience in several areas including business services & technology, communications, consumer, healthcare, and industrials. Berkshire has a strong history of partnering with management teams to grow the companies in which it invests. For additional information, visit www.berkshirepartners.com.
About Court Square Capital Partners
Court Square is a middle market private equity firm with one of the most experienced investment teams in the industry. Since 1979, the team has completed over 230 investments, including several landmark transactions, and has developed numerous businesses into leaders in their respective markets. Court Square invests in companies that have compelling growth potential within the business services, general industrial, healthcare, and technology and telecommunications sectors. The firm has $7.0 billion of assets under management and is based in New York, N.Y. For more information on Court Square, please visit www.courtsquare.com.