Private equity funds managed by Blackstone have entered into a definitive agreement to make a significant equity investment in Simpli.fi, a provider of programmatic advertising and agency management software. Blackstone will join existing investor GTCR, a private equity firm, as majority shareholders in the company. The investment, which would be made through Blackstone’s flagship private equity vehicle, values the company at approximately $1.5 billion.
GTCR acquired a majority interest in the company in 2017 and, alongside co-founders Frost Prioleau and Paul Harrison. The investment from Blackstone is a continuation of its thematic focus on high quality digital advertising technology platforms and follows its recent investments in Liftoff and Vungle.
“We are thrilled to partner with Blackstone as we pursue the next stage of growth for Simpli.fi,” said Prioleau, who has served as Simpli.fi’s CEO since its inception. “Blackstone’s depth of capabilities and expertise are a great complement to those of GTCR, and their investment is a validation of the fantastic work done by our team members to get us to this point.” Mr. Harrison said: “When our team created Simpli.fi’s core technology, we understood the influence and impact it would have on our industry. We’re ecstatic that Blackstone shares that vision and is a welcomed addition to our great partnership with GTCR.”
Sachin Bavishi, a managing director at Blackstone, said, “Simpli.fi’s highly differentiated technology platform and superior customer service have made it a clear leader in its space. Digital advertising is a high-conviction investment theme at Blackstone and Simpli.fi sits at the intersection of multiple attractive tailwinds, including the continued shift in local media spend to programmatic digital and CTV. We are very excited to partner with the management team and GTCR to further accelerate the Company’s growth.”
Martin Brand, Head of North American Private Equity at Blackstone and Global Co-Head of Technology Investing, added, “Simpli.fi has a long runway for future growth led by its talented founders and we look forward to contributing Blackstone’s resources to support the Company’s rapid growth trajectory.”
Craig Bondy, a managing director at GTCR, said, “We want to congratulate the entire Simpli.fi team on their accomplishments over the last three and a half years. Since we partnered with Frost and Paul, Simpli.fi has achieved impressive growth through new product investment and strategic acquisitions. We believe strongly in Simpli.fi’s future and look forward to continued growth.” Stephen Master, a Principal at GTCR added: “We are delighted to partner with Blackstone in the next phase of growth and innovation for Simpli.fi. Their domain expertise, shared vision for success and fresh perspectives will help accelerate management’s goal of becoming the leading software platform for independent advertising agencies and media buying organizations.”
Evercore and LUMA Partners served as financial advisors, and Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal advisor to Simpli.fi and GTCR. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP served as legal advisor to Blackstone.