May 29, 2015 / 7:40 PM / 2 years ago

TCV seeks to sell stake in marketing firm Merkle: sources

(Reuters) - Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV) is exploring a sale of its minority stake in Merkle Inc, in a deal that could value the fast-growing marketing technology company at more than $1 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

Boutique advisory firm Evercore Partners Inc has been hired to assist on the sale, the people said this week, asking not to be named because the matter is private.

Merkle has around $80 million in annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, the people added.

The exact size of TCV’s stake in Merkle could not be learned, but two of the people said it accounted for more than a quarter of the company’s equity. Merkle’s management has owned most of the company since 1988.

A spokesman for TCV, a late-stage venture capital firm, declined to comment. Merkle and Evercore did not respond to requests for comment.

Columbia, Maryland-based Merkle consults companies on how to reach their customers better through digital strategy, measuring marketing data and providing customer insights. It counts Dell Inc, GEICO, DirecTV, Google Inc, Microsoft Corp, Nestle’s Nespresso and Hearst among some of its clients.

Merkle recorded $382 million in revenue last year, up from $315 million in 2013, according to its website. Chief Executive David Williams told the publication Advertising Age in April that the company is aiming to generate $500 million in revenue this year.

TCV invested $75 million in Merkle in 2010, according to a filing at the time.

Reporting by Liana B. Baker and Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Christian Plumb

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