Pantheon, Abrdn make rural broadband bet

Buy-and-build specialist Stone-Goff has closed a single-asset process on John Staurulakis, a provider of broadband services.

GP-led deals continue to get done in the mid-market, even as syndication problems scupper many of the largest processes.

Mid-market buyout firm Stone-Goff Partners has lifted John Staurulakis, a provider of services to rural broadband providers, out of its 2015-vintage fund into a continuation vehicle, according to a statement.

Pantheon led the deal alongside Abrdn, the GP and rolling LPs. “Affiliates” of Stone Goff also participated alongside the continuation vehicle, the statement said. Sixpoint Partners advised on the deal.

Stone-Goff Partners II CF is more than $100 million in size, including follow-on capital for add-on acquisitions, according to a source with knowledge of the deal.

“This new capital will allow us to pursue additional acquisitions to augment our aggressive organic plan to develop new services and bring additional expertise and resources to our clients,” said Tasos Tsolakis, the chief executive of JSI.

Affiliate title Buyouts first reported on the deal in May, noting that Stone-Goff intended to invest in the continuation vehicle using capital from the in-market Fund IV.

JSI has trebled in size over the past three years to 500 consultants and engineers across 14 offices. It offers regulatory, financial, compliance, engineering and managed services to broadband operators in the US, whose businesses have grown rapidly in line with the shift towards remote work.

Stone-Goff Partners II closed on its $100 million target in October 2015. The New York- and Boston-headquartered buy-and-build specialist targets tech-driven businesses services companies with historical EBITDA of $3 million to $12 million, according to its website.

Recent weeks have seen a string of sub-$1-billion GP-led deals make it over the line, from general partners such as Norvestor Equity and Swander Pace Capital, Secondaries Investor reported.

Market volatility has caused many secondaries buyers to go into risk-off mode, making it difficult to get backing for the type of large, widely syndicated GP-led deals that were in abundance in 2021, Private Equity International noted.

“A lot of deals [being launched] are smaller, and I think they have a better chance of getting done,” Harold Hope, global head of secondaries investing with Goldman Sachs Asset Management, told the affiliate title.

Pantheon is investing its $2.2-billion sixth flagship secondaries fund and its debut fund dedicated to GP-led secondaries, the $624 million Pantheon Secondary Opportunities Fund, according to Secondaries Investor data.

Abrdn is investing Aberdeen Standard Secondary Opportunities Fund IV, a $556 million fund that closed June 2021.