Latest Audax Deal Eyes Globalization

There are a number of angles being taken to capitalize on the spread of globalization. Boston-based Audax Group acquired CIBT Global Inc., an expeditor of travel documents, as its entryway into the movement. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Based in McLean, Va., CIBT serves a customer base made up of large corporations, government agencies and travel management companies. Its primary function is to facilitate the process of attaining the necessary documents to travel abroad. CIBT also provides additional services such as document authentications and even global cellular phone rentals.

It’s hard to miss the spread of globalization, and private equity firms, in particular, have to look no further than their own backyard to see its effect on business.

In the Midwest, firms such as Blue Point Partners and Morgenthaler are incorporating a “China strategy” into their gameplan, while both East and West Coast firms like Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., Platinum Equity and Summit Partners, among many others, have made an effort to establish foreign outposts.

As global business travel ticks steadily upward, the demand for documentation should rise as well. And as travel to destinations such as Russia, Brazil, China and India rise—all areas that require travel visas—so too will the need for a company that facilitates the documentation process. At least that’s the bet Audax is making.

Geoffrey Rehnert, a co-founder and co-CEO at Audax, described to Buyouts that attaining the necessary visas or passports is not typically an efficient process. CIBT, however, provides the ease and removes any uncertainty over the attainment of documentation.

“It can take anywhere from two weeks to two months to obtain a visa, and that’s if it is done correctly,” he said. “CIBT can get it done in as quickly as two days, and provides certainty that the process was completed.”

In addition to the market opportunity, Rehnert expects additional growth to come from the introduction of new products and possible strategic acquisitions.

Audax is currently investing out of its second fund, the $700 million Audax Private Equity Fund II, which closed last September. American Capital Strategies provided debt financing for the transaction.

W.Y. Campbell & Company served as financial advisor to CIBT for the deal, while Kirkland & Ellis provided legal counsel to Audax.

Private investment company Peninsula Capital Partners LLC had owned CIBT prior to the sale to Audax. —K.M.