ACA Group and Foreside Financial Group, LLC, US-based providers of governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) solutions to clients in the financial services industry, have announced that they have signed a definitive agreement to combine their two companies.
Genstar Capital (“Genstar”), a private equity firm, invested in Foreside earlier this year. Genstar will be the majority owner of the combined business as a result of acquiring a controlling interest in ACA from Starr Investment Holdings, LLC upon completion of the transaction. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2022.
The announcement states that the combination of ACA and Foreside will bring together the industry’s most experienced professionals to provide a full suite of GRC consulting, technology, managed services, analytics, and outsourcing solutions to the financial services industry. At the completion of the merger, the firm will have over 1,100 employees and 16 offices globally and will serve over 5,000 clients.
Shvetank Shah, CEO of ACA Group, will become CEO of the new company upon completion of the transaction. Shah says: “Partnering with Foreside and Genstar will be a game changer in our industry. Both firms share the same commitment to create a category leader in a rapidly evolving space. Foreside and ACA have earned outstanding reputations and our aligned vision, client-centric focus, and commitment to innovation will help our customers navigate their most complex GRC challenges.”
The announcement states that combining ACA’s award-winning technology, regulatory compliance, cybersecurity, ESG, and performance capabilities with Foreside’s complementary distribution, compliance consulting, and broker-dealer capabilities creates the industry-leading end-to-end GRC platform financial services companies need to achieve superior growth in a compliant way.
Rich Berthy, Founder and CEO of Foreside says: “We at Foreside are very excited by the opportunity this combination presents. Over the past 15 years Foreside has built its reputation as an expert provider of customised compliance and technology solutions and services to the investment management industry. The combined company will have the global resources to continue to develop innovative products with a single vision focused on providing the best client advice.”
Tony Salewski, Managing Director at Genstar, and Sid Ramakrishnan, Principal at Genstar, say: “We are thrilled to bring these two leading GRC companies together in a transformative transaction. We believe the combined company will be well positioned to capitalize on secular market growth trends and to help global clients navigate an evolving and complex regulatory landscape. We are excited to support the team with capital and expertise to execute a growth plan that includes continued organic and inorganic growth.”
The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals and closing conditions. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Jefferies LLC served as the exclusive financial adviser to ACA. Raymond James & Associates, Inc. served as financial adviser to Genstar and Foreside. Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal counsel to ACA. Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP served as legal counsel to Genstar and Foreside.