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Charterhouse takes majority stake in Two Circles

January 11, 2024

Charterhouse Capital Partners (CCP) has agreed to take a majority stake in Two Circles in a deal worth a reported $300 million (€273m). The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2024.

The business will continue to be led by CEO and co-founder, Gareth Balch, alongside the current management team, and the Two Circles team have reinvested in the company and increased their shareholding. Bruin Capital exits having helped to grow the revenues of Two Circles by 450 per cent during its time as majority investor. 

Two Circles is an international data-driven sports marketing company partnering with more than 400 sports properties. By managing fan data interactions on behalf of these clients, Two Circles provides insights that are used to influence board-level decision-making and generate transformational commercial returns through services including rights-managing, ticketing, event-hosting, streaming services, e-commerce, sponsorship sales, content creation and strategy consulting.

Two Circles has long-term partnerships with sports properties including the NFL, the IOC, International Cricket Council, LA28, F1, Premier League, UEFA and FIFA.

Following Bruin’s investment in 2019, Two Circles grew its team by 400 per centto more than 600 teammates, including 75 per cent joining from outside of the sports industry, and opened new offices in Los Angeles, Paris and Melbourne – joining locations in London, Bern and New York – while retaining 96 per cent of its leadership team and 89 per cent of its entire team. It diversified its services during this period through the acquisition of sponsorship sales agency, TRM, ticketing specialists, SportsInk, technology specialists, Codeware, and the award-winning creative content agency, LiveWire Sport.

Two Circles was also able to invest in joint-ventures with the DP World Tour, Ryder Cup Europe, FIBA and the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to help accelerate the commercial growth of their properties.

London-based Charterhouse is one of the longest established private equity firms in the world, having invested £12bn+ in assets since 1994.

Charterhouse partner, Chris Warren, said: “At Charterhouse we identify technology-enabled services firms with highly differentiated expertise and back their management teams to become global leaders. Two Circles was a standout opportunity because of its data-driven focus, resilient profits, and growth in every year since it was founded in 2011. In a rapidly changing media landscape, sport has the potential to become more popular and valuable than ever before. We believe Two Circles is emerging as the first digitally native global sports group and will lead the next era for the sports industry to help its clients navigate the changes ahead and fulfil their potential.”

Bruin founder, George Pyne, commented: “This was a textbook collaboration and now a terrific outcome for everyone involved. We can’t be more thrilled for Gareth and the Two Circles’ team. The company’s growth, global expansion, and diversification over the last four years is a masterclass in value creation. Factor in the sports industry pause for COVID, and the performance was astounding. We’re proud to have played a meaningful role in all of that and to deliver against a bold vision for our investors.”

Gareth Balch, CEO and co-founder, Two Circles, added: We are immensely grateful to George Pyne and the team at Bruin. They are brilliant people and have been brilliant partners. Charterhouse’s interest in our business reflects the commitment our clients have made to embrace a fan-focused and technology-enabled future. We will continue to work with our clients to harness the possibilities of digitisation and technology to grow the value of sport while nurturing the spirit and heritage that attracts hundreds of millions of fans and players to the games, teams and competitions they love. This partnership with Charterhouse will enable Two Circles to do this in more places worldwide and importantly, to collaboratively identify and invest in the capabilities sports needs to thrive. I am incredibly proud of our brilliant team for achieving this partnership with Charterhouse. Our focus is on becoming the best business we can be, and we want to build a better future for the sports industry. This moment is simply an affirmation of our constant desire for improvement. Sport is set for a golden era and we can’t wait to be part of it.”

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