Why Silver Lake Is Buying First Advantage From Symphony Technology

By Dan Anderson ● November 27, 2019
  • First Advantage, a global tech and information services leader, announced that Silver Lake is buying the company from Symphony Technology Group

First Advantage — a global technology and information services leader in background check and drug screening solutions — and technology investing leader Silver Lake announced that Silver Lake has signed a definitive agreement to acquire First Advantage from Symphony Technology Group (STG). Going forward, First Advantage’s senior management team will remain in their current roles and continue to be meaningful equity holders in the company.

“STG has been a great partner over the past eight years, helping us to improve our operating platform, launch new technologies and meaningfully expand our client base,” said Scott Staples, CEO of First Advantage. “Silver Lake brings a unique mix of technology expertise, industry relationships, capital availability, and global reach, which undoubtedly will help us reach the next level of our potential.”

First Advantage’s services include background screening (criminal, education, employment), driver compliance, drug testing and fingerprinting. And the company’s services and global technology platform — which integrates with leading HR and talent management solutions — provide insights to help clients reduce risk and hire the best talent while decreasing the time to hire.

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“As employers compete for talent, they seek best-in-class technology partners like First Advantage to provide timely and trusted intelligence to support hiring, risk management, and brand protection,” added Joe Osnoss, Managing Director of Silver Lake. “We look forward to working closely with Scott Staples, the management team, and employees of First Advantage to continue the momentum they are demonstrating in many areas, including cutting-edge technology, superior client success practices, and industry-leading geographic coverage.”

And First Advantage’s ongoing monitoring solutions and new XtdForce products aimed at contingent workers are in growing demand as employers seek to mitigate risks and reputational costs through the screening process. The company has a global footprint, operating in 27 locations with more than 4,300 employees and completing background checks in more than 200 countries and territories.

“It has been a privilege to partner with First Advantage. We would like to thank Scott Staples and the company’s outstanding management team for their partnership in transforming First Advantage into the industry leader and laying the foundation for long-term growth. In partnership with Silver Lake, the company is well-positioned to continue to deliver innovative solutions to its 35,000 clients around the world,” explained STG managing director Marc Bala.

J.P. Morgan acted as financial advisor and Paul Hastings LLP served as legal counsel to First Advantage. And Stifel acted as financial advisor and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP served as legal counsel to Silver Lake. The financial details were not disclosed.

The deal is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2020.