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Chicago private-equity firm Thoma Bravo, which has become a tech juggernaut with leadership from its San Francisco office, acquired the company, but plans to keep existing management.

LYNNE MAREK

Private-equity firm Thoma Bravo, founded in Chicago, is buying a household-name company in consumer research firm J.D. Power.

Thoma Bravo, which has raised $30 billion over the years, said in a statement today that it has a deal to buy the Costa Mesa, California company and plans to keep existing management, led by CEO Dave Habiger. The companies didn’t say how much is being paid for the acquisition, which is expected to close by the end of the year.

Reuters reported in May, citing unnamed sources, that J.D. Power’s current owner, XIO Group, was looking to sell the company at a possible value of near $1.9 billion, including debt.

Thoma Bravo was founded by Chicago private equity pioneer Carl Thoma, who hired Orlando Bravo early in his career. While the firm still touts Chicago and San Francisco offices, it’s largely led today by Bravo from the West Coast office. Of all the staff listed on the  firm’s web site, only Thoma and his long-time partner Lee Mitchell are listed as Chicago personnel. They are two of the six managing partners.

Private equity firms raise money from investors and then invest by buying companies that they believe they can make more profitable through expansion and increased cost efficiency. Usually within a ten-year cycle, the companies are sold to another company or in an initial public stock offering, allowing the partners to deliver gains to themselves and their investors.

Thoma Bravo was one of the earliest firms to focus heavily on investing in technology companies, particularly software enterprises. Among the 44 companies it currently owns, according to its web site, are Naperville-based data analysis company Infogix and Chicago-based investment firm Segall Bryant & Hamill.

Read the article on the Crain's website here.