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Chicago-based West Monroe to sell 50 percent stake to MSD Partners – Crain’s Chicago Business

(Bloomberg)—MSD Partners, the investment firm that grew out of Michael Dell’s family office, has agreed to take a 50% stake in digital consulting firm West Monroe. 

The deal values the Chicago-based company at about $2.5 billion, according to people familiar who asked to not be identified because that information wasn’t public.

 West Monroe will use proceeds to fund international expansion, Kevin McCarty, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in an interview. 

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“We are currently U.S. focused, but we will be opening a London office in the first quarter of next year,” he said. “That is being done organically but we are looking at a number of opportunities to grow in that market via M&A.”

A representative for West Monroe declined to comment on the valuation. 

Founded in 2002, West Monroe has eight offices and is projecting about $550 million in revenue this year. As a digital consultant, the firm helps companies come up with business plans to tackle technology-oriented problems, with a particular focus on transitioning to digital operating models. That has included helping higher-education provider Blackboard Inc. shift to another technology platform to helping City National Bank of Florida modernize its information technology and operations, according to its website. It has worked with utilities, health insurers, food makers, retailers and other clients. 

“The West Monroe team has built a special digital consulting firm,” said John Civantos, co-head of MSD Partners’ private capital group. “Their unrelenting drive to do more and achieve more is reflected in their differentiated culture, which has been the fundamental pillar supporting the strong growth the company has achieved to date.”

The deal, in which some some existing shareholders will sell part of their stakes in the company, will enable all employees to have the opportunity to own part of the firm going forward through a new company stock fund and internal equity marketplace.

MSD Partners hired Gregg Lemkau as CEO from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. last year. Its private capital group has invested about $1.7 billion since 2016. The firm, founded in 2009 by partners of MSD Capital, Dell’s family office, has owned stakes in Hayward Industries and the Ultimate Fighting Championship, according to its website.

Guggenheim Partners and Macquarie Group Ltd. were financial advisers to West Monroe while Katten Muchin Rosenman, Mayer Brown and Polsinelli PC were legal advisers. Houlihan Lokey Inc. advised MSD Partners while Blackstone Inc. and Owl Rock Capital Corp. provided financing for the transaction.

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