Ardian Expansion successfully acquired Artefact SA [ALATF], a global leader in data science and data transformation solutions

Date: December, 15th, 2021

Clipperton is pleased to announce that it acted as financial advisor to Ardian Expansion as part of its acquisition of a majority stake in Artefact SA, a high-growth data services firm with a global footprint, together with Cathay Capital.

ardian artefact

 

Executive Summary:

  • Ardian, one of the world’s leading private equity firms with $120 billion under management, acquired Artefact SA, together with Cathay Capital. 
  • Artefact is a global service company that sits at the intersection of marketing, consulting, and data science. It specializes in data transformation and data & digital marketing consulting, with a mission to leverage data to deliver impactful business strategies for blue-chip customers across various industries.
  • This transaction marks the second deal of Clipperton in the data science solutions sector over the last 12 months, after the fundraising for Ekimetrics with Bpifrance and Tikehau Capital. The take-private of Artefact by Ardian also highlights Clipperton’s transaction execution skills and deal structuring capabilities.

Our Client:

  • Ardian is a world-leading private equity house with $120 billion under management and 800-people staff spread over 15 offices covering Europe, the Americas, and Asia.  
  • Ardian’s Expansion team invests in fast-growing lower mid-cap companies based in the major Eurozone economies. It has an outstanding record of helping mid-sized companies and their management teams grow and expand internationally through strategic acquisitions creating sustainable value. The team consists of 30 professionals and has completed 69 investments in past and current portfolio companies. 
  • The transaction highlights Clipperton’s expertise in advising tier-one private equity firms on mid-cap investment opportunities with a strong technology angle.

 

About Artefact:

  • Ardian Expansion signed on September 17, 2021, a securities purchase agreement with Artefact’s main shareholders, including Mr. François de la Villardière, Chairman of the Board of Directors, the co-founders, and co-CEOs of Artefact, Mr. Vincent Luciani and Mr. Guillaume de Roquemaurel, as well as certain reference shareholders, including Fonds Nobel, Financière Arbevel, Truffle Capital and Otus, several managers and minority shareholders relating to the transfer of a controlling block in Artefact representing approximately 52% of the share capital and the voting rights of Artefact, for a price of 7.8 euros per ordinary share. 
  • Following the completion of the acquisition of the controlling block, Ardian Expansion filed a mandatory simplified cash tender offer for the remaining share capital of Artefact at the same price of 7.8 euros per ordinary share. On December 15, the simplified tender offer has been completed and the mandatory withdrawal on Artefact shares will be effective as of 21 December 2021.
  • Artefact’s legacy managers are also supporting this offer by reinvesting substantially alongside Ardian, to ensure the continuity of governance with Vincent Luciani as Group CEO.
  • Ardian’s Expansion team, alongside Cathay Capital, will support Artefact’s management team in a new phase of acceleration with the aim of becoming a global data services leader. 
  • The new shareholders will support the group in its geographical expansion in Europe, Asia and the United States thanks to their global network and the significant resources that will be provided to the Group. Artefact will invest in an ambitious recruitment program for new talent with the aim of tripling its workforce by 2025, with already 500 recruitments planned for 2022. Finally, the Group will be an active player in the consolidation of the market by accelerating strategic acquisitions in a still highly fragmented data services market.

 

Deal Highlights & Rationale:

  • Ardian Expansion signed on September 17, 2021, a securities purchase agreement with Artefact’s main shareholders, including Mr. François de la Villardière, Chairman of the Board of Directors, the co-founders, and co-CEOs of Artefact, Mr. Vincent Luciani and Mr. Guillaume de Roquemaurel, as well as certain reference shareholders, including Fonds Nobel, Financière Arbevel, Truffle Capital and Otus, several managers and minority shareholders relating to the transfer of a controlling block in Artefact representing approximately 52% of the share capital and the voting rights of Artefact, for a price of 7.8 euros per ordinary share. 
  • Following the completion of the acquisition of the controlling block, Ardian Expansion filed a mandatory simplified cash tender offer for the remaining share capital of Artefact at the same price of 7.8 euros per ordinary share. On December 15, the simplified tender offer has been completed and the mandatory withdrawal on Artefact shares will be effective as of 21 December 2021.
  • Artefact’s legacy managers are also supporting this offer by reinvesting substantially alongside Ardian, to ensure the continuity of governance with Vincent Luciani as Group CEO.
  • Ardian’s Expansion team, alongside Cathay Capital, will support Artefact’s management team in a new phase of acceleration with the aim of becoming a global data services leader. 
  • The new shareholders will support the group in its geographical expansion in Europe, Asia and the United States thanks to their global network and the significant resources that will be provided to the Group. Artefact will invest in an ambitious recruitment program for new talent with the aim of tripling its workforce by 2025, with already 500 recruitments planned for 2022. Finally, the Group will be an active player in the consolidation of the market by accelerating strategic acquisitions in a still highly fragmented data services market.

 

Clipperton’s Role & Expertise:

  • Clipperton acted as financial advisor to Ardian Expansion in the negotiations with the sellers and managers and the structuring of the deal, with the support of Natixis Partners for the debt financing. 
  • This transaction marks the second deal of Clipperton in the data science segment over the last 12 months, after the €24m fundraising for Ekimetrics with Bpifrance and Tikehau Capital. 
  • Clipperton’s ability to understand the technology edge and singular positioning of Artefact enabled Ardian Expansion to form a strong conviction on the growth avenues of the company and its potential to become a global category leader in data science consulting.
  • The take-private of Artefact by Ardian also highlights Clipperton’s transaction execution skills and deal structuring capabilities.
  • Nicolas von Bülow, Managing Partner of Clipperton in charge of the transaction, commented, “We are extremely proud to have accompanied Ardian Expansion on this major transaction. Artefact perfectly fits our sweet spot as a company with a strong tech differentiation and global ambitions. We are truly convinced that Artefact has found in Ardian Expansion the best possible partner to continue its expansion.”

 

Deal Team & Enquiries: 

Clipperton:

Natixis Partners:

  • Philippe Charbonnier, Managing Director

Click here for a list of our recent transactions

About Clipperton

Clipperton is a leading investment bank dedicated to technology and growth companies. We provide strategic and financial advisory to entrepreneurs, corporates, and top-tier investors in Europe willing to execute transactions such as strategic M&A, private equity transactions, and private placements. Founded in 2003 and with offices in Paris, London, Berlin, Munich, New York, and Beijing, Clipperton has completed over 300 M&A and private placement transactions with fast-growing technology start-ups, blue-chip corporates, and renowned financial investors. 

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