Wood Mackenzie may be sold for up to £2.5bn

Wood Mackenzie, the Edinburgh-based consultancy for the energy, chemicals, metals and mining industries, could soon be sold by its New Jersey owner for up to £2.5 billion.

News reports claim private equity firms including The Carlyle Group, CVC and BC Partners are interested in acquiring Wood Mackenzie from New Jersey-based data analytics firm Verisk.

Verisk acquired Wood Mackenzie from Hellman & Friedman and other Wood Mackenzie shareholders in 2015 for about £1.85 billion.

The sale of Wood Mackenzie would follow a campaign by activist investor DE Shaw which has urged Verisk to sell assets and focus more on insurance.

DE Shaw claimed in March that Verisk allocated its capital “to acquire several non-core businesses, which have served as a distraction to management, diluting the quality of Verisk’s insurance assets and ultimately reducing the premium valuation historically enjoyed by the company.”

DE Shaw added: “For example, Verisk’s Wood Mackenzie acquisition has meaningfully reduced overall company returns on capital, generating only a 4% return on invested capital during Verisk’s ownership, well below both Verisk’s stated hurdle rates and its cost of capital.”