Some companies chalk their success up to providence, others to Providence Equity Partners. Focusing on media, entertainment, information, and communications companies in all stages of development, the private equity firm is an active investor that usually collaborates with target companies' management and takes seats on their boards. It typically invests between $250 million and $2.5 billion per transaction and manages some $23 billion in committed capital. The company's current portfolio holdings include stakes in Education Management Corporation, Hulu, Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network, Univision, and Warner Music Group. Providence Equity Partners was founded in 1989.
Like other private equity firms, Providence has taken advantage of an improving economic climate by making new acquisitions and strategic divestitures. In 2010 the company took private Virtual Radiologic Corporation for nearly $300 million. In another deal, Providence-backed Altegrity bought corporate investigation firm Kroll from Marsh & McLennan for $1.1 billion.
Providence also bought a 25% of AutoTrader.com, gaining two seats on the board of the company, which operates one of the Internet's largest automotive shopping websites. Continuing its acquisitive streak, the company bought defense consulting firm SRA International for nearly $1.9 billion. In a smaller deal, Providence Equity agreed to acquire trade show producer George Little Management for about $173 million.
Providence built its education holdings in 2011 as well. It acquired college preparatory services provider Study Group International from Australia's CHAMP Private Equity for $570 million, bought educational software company Blackboard for about $1.6 billion in cash, and purchased Istituto Marangoni, which offers fashion and design programs to students in London, Milan, and Paris, from Career Education Corporation. Terms of the latter deal were not disclosed.
Providence sold its majority stake in Kerasotes ShowPlace Theatres to AMC Entertainment in 2010, six years after it acquired some 60% of the firm from the founding Kerasotes family. The company also sold regional cable company Bresnan Communications to larger rival Cablevision for some $1.4 billion. The company will exit its 2006 investment with Carlyle in Swedish cable company Com Hem by selling the firm to BC Partners; Providence will double its money in the deal. Also in 2011, Providence Equity Partners fetched more than $1 billion after selling half of its stake in Kabel Deutchland. In early 2012, Providence and Warburg Pincus sold mobile software firm Telcordia to Ericsson for some $1.2 billion.
Providence has offices in the US, Europe, and Asia. The firm has invested in more than 100 companies since it was founded. Providence raised some $12 billion for its latest private equity fund, its sixth, which closed in 2007. – less