BlackRock Inc. signage is displayed at 55 E. 52nd St., in New York, U.S. (Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg)

BlackRock Nears Deal to Acquire Bridgepoint's EFront

(Bloomberg) -- BlackRock Inc., the world’s biggest money manager, is nearing a deal to acquire French software provider eFront at a valuation of more than $1.3 billion to expand private equity and real estate analytics for clients, people familiar with the matter said.

The New York-based firm may announce an agreement with eFront’s private equity owner Bridgepoint as soon as the next few days, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. No final decision has been made, and Bridgepoint could still choose a different bidder, according to the people.

The purchase would add to one of BlackRock’s key businesses, a risk management technology platform called Aladdin, which can predict what a variety of worst-case scenarios would do to a portfolio, including how a 2008-style crash would affect a client’s holdings. Its users include pension funds, insurance companies, and competing asset managers who pay to license Aladdin based on which of its capabilities they use.

Bridgepoint acquired eFront for 300 million euros in 2015, and the company has broadened its offering since, according to its website. EFront’s software helps private equity firms, real estate investors and other financial customers analyze their performance and fundraising, monitor and collect data on their portfolios, meet accounting and regulatory obligations and communicate with investors.

BlackRock has been competing with IHS Markit Ltd. and private equity firms, people with knowledge of the matter said earlier. The firm’s technology services revenue rose in 2018, driven by demand for the Aladdin platform.

A representative for BlackRock couldn’t immediately comment. A representative for Bridgepoint declined to comment. Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, competes with IHS and eFront in providing financial news, analytics and information.

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