Vision Critical Sells Consulting Business Unit to Clear Path for IPO

According to an article in the Globe and Mail today, Vancouver’s Vision Critical has cleared a major hurdle on its path to an initial public offering with the sale of one of its two divisions.

Part-owned by pollster Angus Reid and founded by his son, Andrew Reid, Vision Critical is selling its market research consulting division to MARU Group, a new company backed by British private equity firm Primary Capital Partners LLP.

This consulting division accounts for about one-third of revenue and employs about 20 per cent of Vision Critical’s 800 employees.

The sale process, code-named “Moonshot” internally, has been in the works for about a year.

The deal leaves Vision Critical focused on its Internet-based subscription software business, which provides its 700-plus corporate customers – including about a third of the Fortune 500 – with the capability to conduct ongoing market research with online “communities” of customers.

According to Sean Silcoff’s piece in the Globe and Mail, the sale is a critical stage in the prepartion to go public and Vision Critical chairman Ian Giffen confirmed that: “I don’t believe we could go public if we hadn’t sold this business.”

RELATED: Not Much IPO Action Expected in 2016, Says Omers’ Ruffolo

Silcoff also reported that the proceeds of this sale leaves Vision Critical with more money in the treasury than the total amount that’s ever been invested in the company.

Founded in 2000, Vision Critical received a $20 million investment from OMERS Ventures in August of 2012. Two years later Georgian Partners invested $16 million in Vision Critical.

Image: Rafal Gerszak For The Globe and Mail