Firm: Squire Patton Boggs (Appen Limited); MinterEllison (lender syndicate)
Deal: Squire Patton Boggs has advised Appen Limited In its debt funding for Appen’s acquisition of Figure Eight Technologies Inc.
Value: up to $300 million
Area: Corporate, Commercial, M&A
Key players: Squire Patton Boggs’ Sydney-based finance partner Hai-Dang Nguyen led a global team with associate Ryan Cho and US colleagues in the firm’s New York and Californian offices.
MinterEllison’s partner Stewart Robertson and associate Bryce McCarthy represented the lender syndicate.
Deal significance: Appen is an ASX-listed, global leader in the development of high quality, human-annotated datasets for machine learning and artificial intelligence, according to Squire Patton Boggs.
Figure Eight Technologies’ major product is a machine learning platform that uses highly automated annotation tools to transform unstructured text, image, audio and video data into customized high-quality artificial intelligence training data that can be used for a variety of applications, the firm also explained.
According to Squire Patton Boggs, the combination of Appen’s leading global crowd with Figure Eight’s innovative data annotation platform will create a unique and valuable end-to-end solution for customers, with the acquisition significantly improving Appen’s capability to meet and exceed its customers’ scale, speed and quality requirements.
Squire Patton Boggs said in a statement that a syndicate of leading global and Australian banks have committed to providing debt facilities to assist Appen in financing the acquisition, which is also funded by a fully underwritten placement arranged by Citigroup.
The firm said the underwritten placement “marked the largest primary capital raising of 2019 so far in Australia”.
Lead partner Hai-Dang Nguyen said “we are delighted to have assisted Appen with the financing for another strategic acquisition, which further strengthens its position as the world’s leading provider of high-quality training data for machine learning and artificial intelligence”.
“We would like to congratulate Appen on the announcement of this significant acquisition and are proud to have been given the opportunity to harness our cross-border experience and global resources to play a part in Appen’s continued impressive growth” Mr Nguyen continued.