Carlyle Catches Primatics In Smaller Deal

Target: Primatics Financial

Price: Undisclosed

Sponsor: The Carlyle Group

Seller: Primatics’ founder group

Financial Adviser: Houlihan Lokey

The Carlyle Group may be known for its large buyouts but the politically connected buyout firm does do smaller deals. For instance, this month Carlyle unveiled a “significant” investment in Primatics Financial.

It’s not clear if Washington D.C.-based Carlyle acquired a majority of Primatics but the buyout firm hasn’t bought 100 percent of the company. Primatics’s management, which is staying in place, is taking a stake, according to a statement.

The sellers were Primatics founders Michael Therrien, Jeff Sant, Umar Syyid and Abbas Valliani. The founders sold stock to Carlyle but are maintaining a significant equity stake, a source told peHub, a sister Web site to Buyouts. Charles Rossotti, a Carlyle senior advisor, is joining Primatics’s board.

“The Carlyle Group has a tremendous record of exponentially increasing the business value of its portfolio companies,” said Peter Fitzsimmons, Primatics’ chairman and CEO. “Carlyle’s expertise, experience and capital will enable Primatics to strategically position itself for the next level of growth and performance.”

Started in 2005, McLean, Va.-based Primatics provides accounting software and technology services for the financial services industry. It employs about 200 people. Primatics competes against the Big Four accounting firms, as well as other niche consulting providers, for consulting work. The company is growing by 20 percent to 25 percent a year, a second person said.

Primatics began looking for a strategic partner in December 2009 and hired Houlihan Lokey. Several private equity and strategic buyers were interested but Primatics was more focused on a buyout shop, the first person said. Primatics wanted a buyer that believed in its business and would help it grow, the source said.

Primatics settled on Carlyle in the fall and a sale closed on Dec. 21. “Carlyle believes that Primatics’s software and managed services solutions approach toward this under-invested sector of the market is superior to a billable-hour and spreadsheet approach in terms of providing an enterprise-class, holistic and scalable long-term solution for clients,” Rossotti said in a statement.

Carlyle’s investment comes from its North American growth equity fund, Carlyle Growth Partners III LP, which raised $605 million in 2007. Carlyle’s investments from this pool typically range from $20 million to $75 million in smaller companies with up to $300 million in revenue.

Houlihan’s Joel Kallett and Bhavin Patel provided financial advice to Primatics.