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Squarespace to go private in $7B takeover deal

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Permira is acquiring website-builder Squarespace for about $6.6 billion in cash in the second-largest take-private deal of the year.

The London-based private equity firm agreed to pay $44 per share in cash for Squarespace, a premium of more than 15% over its closing share price on Friday, according to a statement Monday. The deal is worth $6.9 billion, including debt.

The deal caps a brief stint on the public markets for Squarespace, which went public via a direct listing at $50 per share in 2021. The company, which had been privately valued at about $10 billion at one point, had fallen about 24% from its debut through Friday’s close.

The stock rose 13% to $43.26 at 11:11 a.m. in New York trading Monday, giving it a market value of about $6 billion.

The transaction also comes as private equity is increasingly willing to put money to work — particularly in the technology sector — after a lull in activity in 2023. The transaction is the second-biggest leveraged buyout of the year, behind Silver Lake’s $13 billion pact in April for entertainment conglomerate Endeavor Group Holdings, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Squarespace Chief Executive Anthony Casalena will continue to lead the business and roll over a “substantial majority” of his equity, according to the statement.

“Squarespace has been at the forefront of providing services to businesses looking to establish themselves online for more than two decades. We are excited to continue building on that foundation, and expanding our offerings, for years to come,” Casalena said in a statement.

He added that he was excited to partner with Permira as well as “existing long-term investors” General Atlantic and Accel.

Permira, which is active in the technology sector, raised $17.7 billion last year for its latest flagship buyout fund.

JPMorgan Chase is advising Squarespace, while Centerview Partners worked with the board’s special board committee. Goldman Sachs Group is advising Permira.

Blackstone Credit & Insurance, Blue Owl Capital, and Ares Capital are arranging debt financing.

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Liana Baker, Bloomberg , 2024-05-13 17:51:49

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