John S Herold acquired by IHS

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New York—John S. Herold, a well-regarded independent research firm specializing in the energy industry, will be acquired by IHS Inc., a publicly traded information and consulting firm, for $48 million.  The transaction highlights the growing interest in independent research firms.

IHS, with $600 million in revenues, has two divisions, energy and engineering.  Herold will be included in IHS’ energy division, which acquired CERA in 2004 for $29 million.   IHS makes most of its revenues selling detailed industry information on exploration, development, production, and transportation of oil and gas.  Clients are primarily in the energy industry. 

John S. Herold offers three varieties of research retainers—company-level analysis, industry research and M&A transaction analysis.   Herold has institutional investor clients, but also clients in investment banks and the energy industry.   Although Herold’s products are largely complementary to those of IHS, there is a risk of cannibalization from industry clients. 

In January 2007, Herold signed an exclusive distribution deal with Weeden & Co.  Given this is a recent agreement, we doubt it will be affected by the acquisition.  Nevertheless, one of the strategic benefits that Herold brings to IHS is the ability to expand the institutional investor client base.  If that becomes a priority, Herold and HIS will need to beef up their in-house sales capabilities.

We estimate Herold’s revenues at between $10 and 15 million, putting the multiple between 3x and 4.5x revenues.

The press release follows. 

IHS Acquires John S. Herold, Inc., a Leading Energy Research Company

Independent Research Firm Adds Global Energy Company Analysis to IHS Data and Insight Strength

ENGLEWOOD, Colo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS), a leading global provider of critical technical information, decision-support tools and strategic services, today announced the acquisition of Norwalk, CT-based John S. Herold, Inc. (“Herold”), an independent research firm that provides in-depth analyses and key financial and operational data on more than 400 global oil and gas companies.

IHS acquired Herold for approximately $48 million in an all-cash transaction. This acquisition was done at a market multiple of revenue and the Herold’s business reports EBITDA margins in line with current IHS margins. IHS expects this acquisition to be accretive to both EBITDA margins and adjusted EPS in 2008.

“John S. Herold shares with IHS a vision to provide high-quality critical information and insight, and adds commercial evaluations and company fundamental analyses to the extensive IHS oil and gas industry data, technical evaluations and research,” said Ron Mobed, President and Chief Operating Officer, IHS Energy. “This acquisition expands the IHS offerings in critical information and insight for clients in operating companies and banking and investment communities, thus broadening and deepening the reach of IHS across the energy sector.”

Herold, founded in 1948, is a uniquely positioned information services company, providing online transaction databases and deal analyses essential to understanding and executing energy mergers and acquisitions and capital markets transactions. Its client base is comprised of virtually every major oil and gas company, the world’s leading commercial and investment banks, and top institutional and investment money managers. Herold also serves clients with focused consulting services and the highly regarded annual Pacesetters Energy Conference.

“The data, information and research capabilities of Herold and IHS are natural and complementary and will enable critical insights from the wellhead to Wall Street,” said Art Smith, John S. Herold, Inc. Chairman and CEO. “Importantly, the extensive well- and field-level data from IHS will enhance Herold’s research, valuation and project analyses and allow Herold, as a business unit of IHS, to better serve our collective clients.”

About IHS (www.ihs.com)

IHS (NYSE: IHS) is a leading provider of critical technical information, decision-support tools and related services to customers around the world. Our data and services are used primarily by the energy, defense, aerospace, construction, electronics, and automotive industries. IHS translates the value of our global information, expertise and knowledge to enable customer success and create customer delight on a daily basis. Ranging from governments and large multinational corporations to smaller companies and technical professionals in more than 100 countries, customers rely on our offerings to facilitate decision making, support key processes and improve productivity. IHS has been in business for nearly 50 years and employs more than 3,000 people in 35 locations around the world.

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