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Morgan Stanley Capital Partners Completes Sale of World 50 to New Continuation Fund Investment Vehicle

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Morgan Stanley Capital Partners (MSCP) managed investment funds have sold World 50 Parent and its subsidiaries to a single asset GP-led continuation fund. World 50, based in Atlanta, is an exclusive peer-to-peer network for global CEOs and executives. MSCP's partnership with World 50 since 2020 has enhanced member experiences and driven consistent growth. The transaction was supported by Pantheon, Blue Owl Strategic Equity, Lexington, Norwest, Ares Management Funds, AltamarCAM, and Churchill.
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The sale of World 50 Parent LLC to a continuation fund managed by an affiliate of Morgan Stanley Capital Partners marks a significant transaction within the private equity landscape. This move underscores a strategic shift in ownership while maintaining continuity in the investment management team.

From a market research perspective, the involvement of multiple prominent investment firms such as Pantheon, Blue Owl Strategic Equity and Lexington indicates a strong vote of confidence in World 50's business model. The firm operates in a niche market, providing an exclusive networking platform for top executives globally, which is a critical resource for knowledge exchange and business insights.

Considering the company's consistent growth since MSCP's initial investment, it is evident that World 50 has managed to create a valuable proposition for its members. The focus on enhancing member experience likely contributed to this growth, suggesting that similar platforms could benefit from prioritizing user engagement and value addition to retain a competitive edge.

The transaction structure, involving a single asset GP-led continuation fund, is particularly noteworthy. It allows existing investors to roll over their interests into the new fund, providing them with liquidity options while enabling the company to continue its growth trajectory with a stable backing.

Financially, this arrangement can be beneficial for all parties involved. Investors gain an extended time horizon to realize potential gains from their investment, while World 50 gains access to additional resources and expertise from the new investors. This can potentially lead to an increase in the company's market value and performance over time.

For stakeholders in the broader business services sector, this transaction could signal a trend towards more innovative financing structures in private equity deals, offering companies more flexibility in their growth and exit strategies.

The involvement of Debevoise & Plimpton as legal advisors for the transaction highlights the complexity and importance of legal due diligence in private equity deals. Ensuring regulatory compliance and addressing any potential legal issues is paramount, particularly when a deal involves multiple investors and a global member base.

Legal structures such as continuation funds are increasingly being utilized to facilitate long-term investments in established companies. They require careful navigation of securities laws and investment regulations, especially when dealing with cross-border investments and a diverse investor base.

For companies considering similar transactions, understanding the legal implications and preparing for rigorous due diligence can be critical to the success of the deal and the ongoing operations of the business.

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Investment funds managed by Morgan Stanley Capital Partners (“MSCP”) today announced the sale of World 50 Parent LLC and its related subsidiary companies (“World 50” or the “Company”) to a single asset GP-led continuation fund investment vehicle managed by an affiliate of MSCP. The continuation fund is led by investments from Pantheon with co-lead participation from Blue Owl Strategic Equity and Lexington, with Norwest, Ares Management Funds, AltamarCAM and Churchill also committing to the vehicle.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, World 50 is an invitation-only, peer-to-peer network and knowledge exchange platform. Global CEOs, board directors, and senior executives across a variety of functions – from 37 countries across six continents – join World 50 to learn from one another, build relationships, and engage with the World 50 community to discover powerful insights. Since investing in World 50 in 2020, MSCP has partnered with Company management to further build out the offering and continuously improve the member experience through complimentary services and products. The Company’s focus on creating an unmatched member experience has further cemented World 50 as an important resource to its members, which in turn, has led to consistent growth for the Company.

“We are proud to have partnered with the World 50 management team through this past chapter, ultimately transforming World 50 into what we believe to be a differentiated, leading platform,” said Adam Shaw, Managing Director and Head of Business Services at MSCP. “We believe World 50 is a unique business model with multiple levers for continued growth. We appreciate the World 50 team’s extraordinary talent and dedication over the past four years and look forward to being a value-added partner in the Company’s next chapter.”

“Morgan Stanley Capital Partners has been an outstanding partner over the past four years, helping solidify World 50’s position as an invaluable resource to our members, which has delivered exceptional value to them and growth for the company,” said David Wilkie, former CEO and current Chairman of the Board of World 50.1

World 50 CEO Ken Davis, added: “We are extremely excited for the growth opportunities ahead at World 50 and look forward to continuing our partnership with the MSCP team to deliver a differentiated experience for our members.”

Baird acted as lead transaction advisor to MSCP on the continuation fund while Harris Williams provided industry related advice to MSCP, and Debevoise & Plimpton served as legal advisor to MSCP.

About World 50

Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, World 50 is a leading peer to peer community for CEOs, board directors, C-suite executives, and emerging enterprise leaders at globally respected organizations. Since 2004, World 50 has served as a beacon for the senior most executives to stay ahead. Through highly curated product and service offerings, World 50 fosters small, private communities for executives from a multitude of functions and industries to build impactful relationships with one another, work through challenges, and elevate their impact as leaders. World 50 members are at the forefront of transformation, leading organizations with a total market cap exceeding US $34 trillion and more than 37 million employees worldwide. World 50’s mission remains laser focused on accelerating the success of the company’s members, their teams, and their organizations. For more information about World 50, please visit: world50.com

About Morgan Stanley Capital Partners

Morgan Stanley Capital Partners, part of Morgan Stanley Investment Management, is a leading middle-market private equity platform that has invested capital for over three decades. Morgan Stanley Capital Partners focuses on privately negotiated equity and equity-related investments primarily in North America and seeks to create value in portfolio companies primarily in a series of subsectors in the business services, consumer, healthcare, education and industrials markets with an emphasis on driving significant organic and acquisition growth through an operationally focused approach. For further information about Morgan Stanley Capital Partners, please visit www.morganstanley.com/im/capitalpartners.

About Morgan Stanley Investment Management

Morgan Stanley Investment Management, together with its investment advisory affiliates, has approximately $1.5 trillion in assets under management or supervision as of December 31, 2023. Morgan Stanley Investment Management strives to provide outstanding long-term investment performance, service and a comprehensive suite of investment management solutions to a diverse client base, which includes governments, institutions, corporations and individuals worldwide. For further information about Morgan Stanley Investment Management, please visit www.morganstanley.com/im.

About Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) is a leading global financial services firm providing a wide range of investment banking, securities, wealth management and investment management services. With offices in 42 countries, the Firm’s employees serve clients worldwide including corporations, governments, institutions and individuals. For further information about Morgan Stanley, please visit www.morganstanley.com.

About Pantheon

Pantheon is a leading global private markets specialist, currently investing $62bn in discretionary AUM (as of September 30, 2023) on behalf of more than 1,000 investors, including institutional investors of all sizes as well as a growing number of private wealth advisers and investors. Pantheon has been at the forefront of private markets investing for more than 40 years, earning a reputation for providing innovative solutions covering the full lifecycle of investments across private equity, real assets and private credit. The firm is a pioneer in global secondaries and has been investing in the segment since 1987, since which time it has committed approximately $27bn to secondary transactions, including close to $18bn to private equity secondaries across over 400 transactions.

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1
David Wilkie is the current Chairman of the Board of World 50, an MSCP Portfolio Company. Although MSCP did not compensate David Wilkie for this statement, David Wilkie is an investor in certain funds advised by MSCP and, as a portfolio company executive, he is subject to certain conflicts of interest. Other portfolio companies or their executives may have different views and experiences from those expressed herein.

Morgan Stanley Contact: Alyson Barnes, Alyson.Barnes@morganstanley.com

Source: Morgan Stanley Capital Partners

FAQ

What is the name of the company being sold by Morgan Stanley Capital Partners?

The company being sold is World 50 Parent and its related subsidiary companies.

Where is World 50 headquartered?

World 50 is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.

Who are the key investors in the continuation fund acquiring World 50?

The key investors in the continuation fund are Pantheon, Blue Owl Strategic Equity, Lexington, Norwest, Ares Management Funds, AltamarCAM, and Churchill.

What is the focus of World 50's business model?

World 50 is an invitation-only, peer-to-peer network and knowledge exchange platform for global CEOs, board directors, and senior executives.

What role did Morgan Stanley Capital Partners play in enhancing World 50's member experience?

MSCP partnered with World 50 management to improve the offering and member experience through complimentary services and products.

Who served as the lead transaction advisor to MSCP on the continuation fund sale?

Baird acted as the lead transaction advisor to MSCP on the continuation fund sale.

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