A Philadelphia company that computerized science research in the 1960s is set to go public on the New York Stock Exchange.
Philadelphia-based Clarivate Analytics, which mines for research gold in server loads of scholarly studies, will become a publicly traded company with an enterprise value of $4.2 billion (equity plus debt), under a plan laid out this morning by the private-equity investors who bought the business from Thomson Reuters for $3.6 billion in 2016.
Clarivate’s best-known product, Web of Science, traces its Philadelphia roots to the Institute for Scientific Information. Founded in 1960, ISI made scientific studies and citations easily available to researchers. It was acquired by Thomson Financial in 1992.
Clarivate employs about 4,600 in 48 global locations, about one-third of them in the U.S., including 442 at its Spring Garden Street headquarters in Center City Philadelphia. Clarivate makes money by processing academic and scientific studies, data, and citations through “decision support tools" that it sells to scholars, industry and governments.
The new plan, proposed by Clarivate’s owners Onex Corp. and Barings Private Equity Asia, is to merge Clarivate with Churchill Capital Corp., a holding company that raised $690 million by selling its shares on the New York Stock Exchange last summer in advance of buying a business. Churchill shareholders must still approve the deal, which Clarivate CEO Jay Nadler hopes to close this spring.
Churchill was set up by partners Jerre Stead, who also set up multinational economic consulting firm IHS Markit Inc. (which also has a Philadelphia office), and cofounder Michael Klein, an investment banker and former senior Citigroup executive. Stead and Klein pumped $15 million of their money into Churchill, and plan to double that by adding another $15 million into Clarivate as part of the deal.
Onex, Barings and top executives would control nearly three-quarters of the combined company, with public shareholders owning the rest.
Nadler and Clarivate chief financial officer Richard Hanks will keep their jobs, and Stead will head the board as Executive Chairman. Clarivate “has a superior set of data assets, valuable customer relationships and extraordinary people,” said Stead in a statement, adding that he and the Clarivate bosses expect “to accelerate growth in organic revenue” and profits.
Clarivate includes the former Thomson Reuters Intellectual Property and Science business, with brands including Cortellis, Derwent Innovation, CompuMark and Techstreet, among others.
Predecessor ISI was formerly housed in a building with a punch-card-patterned facade at the University City Science Center, a short walk from where the pioneering ENIAC computer was built for World War II at Penn Engineering. The city was an early center of the electronic-computer and data-processing revolution, long before the Internet made remote access easy and forced data firms to focus on value-added services.
“Clarivate Analytics is emerging from a period of strategic reorganization,” Clarivate boss Nadler said in a statement. “We are tremendously excited about this new venture and the future opportunities it presents to accelerate our progress and better serve our customers."
But it’s still “business as usual” on Spring Garden Street while the company prepares a detailed statement for prospective investors and the SEC, Nadler added. “Our management team remains in place, our (private equity) shareholders remain in place; all of our businesses and people will continue to operate as normal.”
“Nadler and his management team have done an excellent job establishing Clarivate as an independent business and positioning it for accelerated growth,” and adding Churchill’s capital and public listing will give it “flexibility” to buy up more companies and grow existing businesses, said Kosty Gilis, managing director at Onex.