Mergermarket provides information on forthcoming mergers and acquisitions to investment bankers and others in the M&A community.
Caspar Hobbs, 37, started the company in December 1999, a little more than a year after leaving the Scots Guards, where he had become a major during his 10-year career. On quitting the army, he worked on the commercial side at Financial News, the weekly publication for the City, where he met Charlie Welsh, 40, a journalist. They came up with the concept for Mergermarket, which uses some of the strategy Mr Hobbs had employed in the Army.
"The idea is really simple. There is a lot of M&A information out there but very little intelligence," Mr Hobbs said. "We focus on primary-source intelligence about the future intentions of companies. We take earlier-stage information and process it into a form that people can use to make money."
He said that, as in the army, information is collected from sources such as patrols, reports from people on the ground and cameras. It is then collated and analysed. Mergermarket uses 160 full- and part-time journalists to collect the information, which is collated and analysed by editors to see what would be useful to M&A professionals looking for the heads-up on possible future deals - "early-stage intelligence that is actionable."
SPARK Ventures made a seed investment into the Company, earning a 24x multiple on the sale to Pearson, the owner of the Financial Times.