US-based publishing and investment firm International Data Group, Inc. (IDG) will be acquired by a pair of Chinese investors, China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co., Ltd. and IDG Capital, the companies announced today (Thursday). The official announcement comes after months of speculation with Reuters reporting in November that the parties were in “advanced discussions.”
Tech analyst outfit International Data Corporation (IDC), a wholly-owned IDG subsidiary, is included in the deal but will go forth without its HPC group, which will find a new corporate home before the sale closes (details below).
The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but sources have estimated the sales price to be between $500 million to $1 billion. The stakeholders say they have received clearance from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”) for the transaction, which is expected to close within the first quarter of 2017.
Founded in 1964 by Pat McGovern, IDG is a prominent global media, market research and venture company; it operates in 97 countries around the world. McGovern, the long-time CEO, passed away in 2014.
“In an effort to carry on the legacy of late founder and chairman Pat McGovern, we have been focused on determining the optimal future balance between what’s best for IDG and Pat’s mission for the McGovern Foundation,” said Walter Boyd, chairman of IDG. “We believe China Oceanwide and IDG Capital will provide the right financial, strategic and cultural fit to take IDG to greater heights.”
China Oceanwide is a privately held, multi-billion dollar, international conglomerate founded by Chairman Zhiqiang Lu. Its operations span financial services, real estate assets, media, technology and strategic investment. The company has a global business force of 12,000.
IDG Capital is an independently operated investment management partnership, which cites IDG as one of many limited partners. It was formed in 1993 as China’s first technology venture investment firm. It operates in a wide swath of sectors, including Internet and wireless communications, consumer products, franchise services, new media, entertainment, education, healthcare and advanced manufacturing.
The Future of IDC’s HPC Team
Given IDC’s position as an analyst firm of record for the HPC community and organizer of the well-attended HPC User Forums, you may be wondering how IDG’s sale to Chinese interests will impact IDC’s HPC group, which deals with sensitive US information. Earl Joseph, IDC program vice president and executive director HPC User Forum, explained that to preserve the full scope of its business activities, IDC’s HPC group will be divested from IDC’s holdings prior to the completion of the sale.
“We want to let you know that we will be fully honoring all IDC HPC contracts and deliverables, and will continue our HPC operations as before,” Joseph shared in an email.
“Because the HPC group conducts sensitive business with governments, the group is being separated prior to the deal closing. It will be operated under new ownership that will be independent from the buyer of IDC to ensure that the group can continue to fully support government research requirements. The HPC group will continue to do business as usual, including research reports, client studies, and the HPC User Forums. After the deal closes, all research reports will be provided by the new HPC group at: www.hpcuserforum.com.”
The IDC HPC team also clarified that it will retain control of “all the IP on HPC, numbers, reports, etc.” and it “won’t be part of a non-US company.”
“We are being set up to be a healthy, growing concern,” said Joseph.
Until the IDC HPC group lines up a suitable buyer, it will remain part of IDG.