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Private equity firm Clearlake buys Cornerstone for $5.2bn

This transforms Cornerstone into a private company.

Allie Nawrat

Cornerstone talent management
Credit: TATIANA MARAMYGINA via Twenty20.

Unleash Your PeopleWhat does the future look like for Cornerstone?

We may only be a week in, but August has already been a busy one for HR tech deals and investment.

Hot on heels of Hopin closing a $450 million Series D, which brings its value to $7.75 billion and makes it Europe’s fastest growing startup, talent management giant Cornerstone has been acquired by private equity firm Clearlake Capital.  

Clearlake is going to pay $57.50 per share in cash for Cornerstone, which equals around $5.2 billion.

Upon the deal’s completion, which expected to happen in the second half of 2021, Cornerstone will become a private company.

As a result of the deal, Clearlake expects Cornerstone to be able to continue to grow the market position of its AI-powered talent management Saas platform, which includes recruitment, learning and development, performance and content offerings, with the help of Clearlake’s capital support and deep sector expertise in the software space.

Other software companies in Clearlake’s portfolio include Symplr, OnShift, and Netdocuments.

Talking about the acquisition, Cornerstone CEO Phil Saunders said: “Clearlake’s investment reflects their confidence in our talented people, the power of our SaaS solutions and our value proposition for our customers.

“With this transaction, we plan to continue to pursue new software capabilities that advance our customers’ efforts to optimize workforce agility, transform skill development, deliver personalized, engaging growth experiences, and align their organizations around a shared definition of success.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Clearlake as a partner that appreciates the impact our SaaS solutions have on the lives of people at work and our customer-centric philosophy as we accelerate our innovation.”

Clearlake co-founder and managing partner Behdad Eghbali added: “We have long admired Cornerstone’s leading talent management SaaS solutions and the Company’s mission to help customers modernize the learning and development experience for their employees.

“We believe there is a significant opportunity to strategically position Cornerstone in the market as a leading platform and industry consolidator, and we look forward to partnering with the management team to drive value through both organic growth acceleration and inorganic transformation.”

Private equity acquisitions are becoming common in the HR tech space. Back in May, London-headquartered Reward Gateway was similarly acquired by two private equity firms: Abry Partners and Castik Capital.

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