Blackstone Readies An IPO For Vivint -- WSJ

By Dana Mattioli Features Dow Jones Newswires

This article is being republished as part of our daily reproduction of WSJ.com articles that also appeared in the U.S. print edition of The Wall Street Journal (September 12, 2017).

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Blackstone GroupLP is preparing for an initial public offering or sale of smart-home technology company Vivint, in what's shaping up to be a successful deal for the buyout giant.

Blackstone recently invited investment banks to pitch for a so-called dual-track process that could lead to an IPO or sale of Vivint, people familiar with the matter said. A deal could value Vivint at more than $3 billion, or $6 billion including debt, some of them said. The latter would be about three times what Blackstone paid for the company five years ago.

Vivint sells smart locks, security cameras, burglary-detection systems and other such items and services. Demand for connected homes, cars and other gadgets is rising as the functionality of hand-held devices improves and consumers spend more time on them. Last year, Qualcomm Inc. agreed to buy rival NXP Semiconductors NV for about $40 billion, a deal that would give the tech company more exposure to the automotive industry -- a major area of growth for chip and software providers.

Home security has been a lucrative niche for private-equity firms lately. Apollo Global Management LLC last year bought Vivint competitor ADT Corp. in a nearly $7 billion deal, and is already preparing an IPO that could value the company at well over $15 billion including debt, The Wall Street Journal has reported.

Two years after it bought Vivint in 2012, Blackstone took sister company Vivint Solar public. Last year, the maker of solar panels terminated a planned merger with SunEdison Inc. after SunEdison's board began investigating claims from both a former and a current employee challenging the accuracy of SunEdison's financial disclosures.

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Private-equity firms often run a dual-track process when they are ready to exit an investment, in part because it can give them more leverage with potential acquirers. Their preference is usually to sell the entire company, if they can get the right price -- an outcome that may be all the more desirable now given recent volatility in the IPO market.

Write to Dana Mattioli at dana.mattioli@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 12, 2017 02:47 ET (06:47 GMT)