The latest example came Tuesday when BC Partners bought a 51% stake in private security company Garda World Security from Rhône Capital in a deal that values the Montreal-based business at C$5.2 billion (about $3.96 billion). As part of the deal, Garda World (branded as GardaWorld) founder and CEO Stephan Crétier and the company's management team will retain a 49% stake.
It wasn't a particularly lengthy ownership period for Rhône, which acquired the business in 2017 alongside Crétier and some members of management from Apax Partners in a deal valued at $2.2 billion. Apax originally took the company private in 2012 for about C$1.1 billion. But the latest move does provide a jolt to the Canadian private equity scene, which experienced a dip in annual deal count last year for the first time in a decade, per PitchBook data. The chart below shows a snapshot of PE deals in Canada since 2008.
GardaWorld (fka Trans-Quebec Security) has a compelling growth story. Crétier founded the company in 1995 with $25,000 he received after being granted a second home mortgage. Using an aggressive M&A strategy that placed an emphasis on leveraging acquisitions, the business has grown to over 92,000 employees across North America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Specializing in end-to-end cash management security for private companies, governments and more, GardaWorld operates the 911 service in East Africa, manages Bank of America's vaults and runs Canada's national transportation security agency, according to The Wall Street Journal.
BC Partners, which is based in London, is no stranger to making huge bets on Canadian businesses. Last year, the buyout shop teamed up with Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and others to recapitalize GFL Environmental, a Toronto-based environmental services company, in a deal worth about $5.1 billion.
But the firm has made headlines recently for its investment in PetSmart, which it acquired for $8.7 billion in 2015, after it spun out a stake in PetSmart-owned Chewy to itself as part of a dividend. Creditors weren't pleased, but BC Partners eventually settled when Chewy raised $1 billion in an IPO earlier this year that valued the online pet retailer at over $15 billion. The firm is currently investing out of its 10th flagship fund, which closed on €7 billion (about $8.7 billion) early last year.
Featured image via Andrei Stanescu/iStock/Getty Images Plus
Related read: Top Dog: Chewy's path to its IPO