Mergers & Acquisitions

Charterhouse confirms Two Circles acquisition

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Charterhouse Capital Partners has signed an agreement to acquire sports marketing agency Two Circles in a deal reported to be worth up to £250m.

The deal, which sees the private equity firm take a majority stake, is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2024.

Two Circles will continue to be led by CEO and co-founder, Gareth Balch, alongside the current management team. Bruin Capital, which bought Two Circles in December 2019, exits having helped to grow the revenues of Two Circles by 450% during its time as majority investor.

Two Circles has long-term partnerships with some of the most iconic sports properties in the world including the NFL, the IOC, International Cricket Council, LA28, F1, Premier League, UEFA and FIFA. It is also the owner of ticketing specialists, SportsInk.

While no financial details were published, media reports suggested the deal was worth £250m ($318m/€290m).

Gareth Balch, CEO and co-founder of Two Circles, said: “Charterhouse’s interest in our business reflects the commitment our clients have made to embrace a fan-focused and technology-enabled future.

“We will continue to work with our clients to harness the possibilities of digitisation and technology to grow the value of sport while nurturing the spirit and heritage that attracts hundreds of millions of fans and players to the games, teams and competitions they love. This partnership with Charterhouse will enable Two Circles to do this in more places worldwide and importantly, to collaboratively identify and invest in the capabilities sports needs to thrive.

“I am incredibly proud of our brilliant team for achieving this partnership with Charterhouse. Our focus is on becoming the best business we can be, and we want to build a better future for the sports industry. This moment is simply an affirmation of our constant desire for improvement. Sport is set for a golden era and we can’t wait to be part of it.”

Data-driven focus

London-based Charterhouse is one of the longest established private equity firms in the world, having invested more than £12bn in assets since 1994.

Charterhouse partner Chris Warren said: “At Charterhouse we identify technology-enabled services firms with highly differentiated expertise and back their management teams to become global leaders. Two Circles was a standout opportunity because of its data-driven focus, resilient profits, and growth in every year since it was founded in 2011.

“In a rapidly changing media landscape, sport has the potential to become more popular and valuable than ever before. We believe Two Circles is emerging as the first digitally native global sports group and will lead the next era for the sports industry to help its clients navigate the changes ahead and fulfil their potential.”