The Riverside Company scored a $A 1.57 billion ($1 billion) exit as funds associated with Blackstone and Vista Equity Partners partnered to acquire its Australia-based portfolio company Energy Exemplar (EE), a provider of simulation software used by the energy industry.
The deal will enable Australia-based EE to accelerate investment in its SaaS platform, which helps power producers, utilities, grid operators and other players in the energy transition ecosystem optimize daily operations, forecast market conditions and plan long-term investments.
“The combination of Blackstone and Vista brings a unique level of expertise in both the energy and software industries which will continue to propel Energy Exemplar as the go-to solution for the energy transition for all our clients around the world who are leading this charge,” said Energy Exemplar CEO David Wilson.
EE started out as Drayton Analytics in 1999. The company was founded by Glenn Drayton as an outgrowth of his doctoral studies at the University of Canterbury. After the success of the first version of its PLEXOS software, the company was renamed in 2006.
Riverside acquired EE through its Riverside Australia Fund (RAF) for an undisclosed amount in 2017. Thanks to that cash injection, the company has grown at 30% compound annual growth rate since 2018, organically as well as through acquisitions, and currently serves more than 500 utilities, power companies and consultants.
“We’re incredibly proud of our partnership and accomplishments with Energy Exemplar over the past six years,” said RAF Managing Partner Simon Feiglin. “During our partnership with EE’s Founder Glenn Drayton, we recruited CEO David Wilson and built an effective international management team and grew the employee base by seven times. We also scaled a small Adelaide-based software business into 79 countries with major offices in India, United Kingdom, North America and Singapore by establishing a global presence in sales, marketing, customer support and product development.”
Bilal Khan, senior managing director at Blackstone Energy Transition Partners, said the firm’s energy market prowess and business network will add more fuel to Energy Exemplar’s growth. “We couldn’t be more excited to work with Vista, [CEO Wilson], and the management team to drive the next stage of development for Energy Exemplar and its technology solutions supporting grid reliability and decarbonization,” he added. “This investment is the latest in a series demonstrating Blackstone’s conviction in the energy transition.”
Ryan Atlas, managing director at Vista, added the firm will leverage its “experience in scaling transformative enterprise software companies to further accelerate innovation and customer value.”
Kirkland & Ellis and William Blair provided legal guidance and financial advice, respectively, to Blackstone and Vista. Jones Day and Herbert Smith Freehills served as legal counsel to EE, while Lazard acted as sole financial advisor for the three parties.
On The Riverside Company side, Jones Day and Herbert Smith Freehills served as legal counsel, and Deloitte advised on accounting and tax issues.