Until two weeks ago, Thoma Bravo had sold just one company worth more than $10 billion in the past three years, when it offloaded Ellie Mae to Intercontinental Exchange for $11 billion in 2020. That drought is why Thoma Bravo’s deal to sell its financial software firm, Adenza, to Nasdaq Inc. for $10.5 billion—nearly twice what it paid for the business—is so remarkable.
Thoma Bravo hit the home run by using a playbook it has built over years of doing software deals, sped up from the usual yearslong time frame. Leadership at the private equity firm acquired and mashed together two companies, slashed their costs, raised prices sharply, poured money into customer support and boosted client retention rates, according to people familiar with the matter. Thoma Bravo managed to increase profits at the unit by 68% to $297 million last year, measured before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.