Solera: Profiting from Insight
May 14, 2015
Always seeking out the best management leaders, GTCR was introduced to Tony Aquila in January 2004. At the time, Mr. Aquila was the COO of Mitchell International, a leading provider of automotive claims management and estimatics services. Estimatics providers collect and distribute data for repair shops and insurance companies to help adjudicate the automotive insurance claims process.
In January 2005, GTCR joined forces with Mr. Aquila to form a management start-up. The goal was to acquire a leading automotive claims management services provider. There were three major estimatics providers in the U.S., each competing fiercely for a limited set of insurance customers. GTCR and Mr. Aquila collectively identified a division within ADP as the most compelling target in the sector. The business was believed to be under-managed and not a strategic fit with the core ADP payroll business. GTCR felt Mr. Aquila and his team brought unique experience and industry expertise that could facilitate significant improvements in operations.
In June 2005, GTCR and Mr. Aquila contacted ADP about carving out its estimatics business. ADP was receptive to a transaction because it believed GTCR and Mr. Aquila would continue to provide high levels of service to the division’s large insurance clients, also customers of ADP’s larger payroll division. As a result, we were able to initiate diligence on a proprietary basis following these discussions and, after a market check by the board, announced the acquisition in January 2006. Upon closing, the company was renamed Solera.
GTCR was driven by the compelling opportunity to acquire the leading global provider of automotive claims processing solutions with a differentiated management angle. Mr. Aquila brought industry expertise, a strategic vision and operational focus. CFO Jack Pearlstein, with whom GTCR had previously partnered in AppNet and DigitalNet, brought the financial sophistication and experience required to carve out and operate a standalone, multinational entity.
Following the acquisition, Solera executed its strategic and operational transformation plan. Mr. Pearlstein led the creation of a standalone back office, improved the company’s financial and operating reporting capabilities, and prepared the entity for a public offering. Concurrently, Mr. Aquila and his team stabilized performance in the United States, where the company had recently lost several important customers, and also developed a robust international growth plan that included entering new geographies and expanding the product suite.
Solera completed an IPO in May 2007, approximately one year after the acquisition. Following the IPO, Solera continued to perform well through a combination of revenue growth and operating efficiency improvements.