XIO Group, a London-based buyout firm, is acquiring J.D. Power and Associates, a unit of McGraw Hill Financial Inc., for $1.1 billion in cash.
The deal is expected to close in the third quarter, pending regulatory approval, McGraw said in a statement.
XIO Group prevailed over private equity firm Advent International Corp. in the auction for J.D. Power, which is best known for its car quality and reliability ratings, Reuters reported earlier, citing sources familiar with the matter.
“We are thrilled that XIO Group recognizes the value of the J.D. Power brand and is committed to maintaining our core brand identity and values while helping us grow and expand,” Fin O’Neill, president of J.D. Power, said in a statement. “We believe this next chapter will allow us to increase our insights across a broader spectrum of consumer interaction, a more extensive global footprint and an increasingly digital, connected and mobile society.”
XIO Group has $5 billion under management and is based in Shanghai, Hong Kong and London. The firm “seeks to leverage its unique global access with an emphasis on Asia and China,” according to its website.
The deal for J.D. Power is the latest example of investors with Chinese ties going after an iconic American brand. Earlier this year, China’s Dalian Wanda Group agreed to acquire Legendary Entertainment, a U.S. movie studio company behind films such as The Dark Knight and Jurassic World, for $3.5 billion.
McGraw Hill Financial hired Morgan Stanley last year to assist with the sale process for J.D. Power, which had annual revenues of about $350 million.
J.D. “Dave” Power and his wife Julie started the eponymous company in 1968 from their home in Calabasas, Calif., and later landed Toyota Motor Corp. as their first client.
While J.D. Power’s roots are in its car research, its annual customer satisfaction surveys measure a range of industries, from credit cards to hotel loyalty programs and cable companies, and are often cited in advertisements and commercials.
The company now employs 7,000 analysts, statisticians, consultants and other experts in 12 offices globally. McGraw Hill Financial, which now has a market capitalization of $25.5 billion, bought J.D. Power in 2005 for an undisclosed sum.