The agreement gives General Atlantic a majority stake in the business whilst enabling Argus to fuel its next phase of global expansion.
Argus was founded by Jan Nasmyth in 1970 as a weekly newsletter covering the Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp petroleum products market. Jan remained actively involved in the business as chairman until he died in 2008 at the age of 90.
Argus executive chairman and publisher Adrian Binks, who has led the company for more than 30 years, will continue in the business and retain the majority of his significant shareholding in the new structure alongside General Atlantic. Employee shareholders will also be given the opportunity to reinvest, while the family of Argus’ founder will sell their shareholding.
“We’re delighted to welcome General Atlantic as our partner as we enter our next phase of growth,” said Adrian Binks.
“I am especially pleased that so many current employees are being given the opportunity to reinvest in our business going forward. Argus will remain independent, focused on reporting commodities and will continue to bring transparency to opaque and vital markets.”
Argus, which has more than 750 full-time employees, over 160 publications, 21 offices worldwide, and in excess of 23,000 price assessments, fulfils a crucial role in international commodity supply chains. The company’s proprietary price reporting methodologies and high-quality editorial content provide customers with reliable, independent assessments of the prevailing market prices, to which contracts can be anchored. Argus’ client base extends across 140 countries and includes international oil companies, trading houses, government agencies and financial institutions.
Argus and General Atlantic expect to complete the transaction within two months, subject to regulatory approval. John Bernstein and Gabriel Caillaux from General Atlantic will join the Argus board of directors on completion of the transaction.
General Atlantic has a long track record of partnering with European entrepreneurs and growth companies, having made its first investment in Europe in 1989. Since then, it has invested more than $5bn in 52 companies across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.