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Summit Partners and RoboSoft, LLC: Mezzanine Debt Investment
Chaplinsky, Susan; Whittemore, Alexander D. Case F-1845 / Published August 23, 2018 / 19 pages.
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Product Overview

In February 2013, John Carroll and Alexander Whittemore, both managing directors at Summit Partners (Summit), are considering an investment in RoboSoft, LLC (RoboSoft), a provider of data-center automation, business intelligence, and security software solutions, primarily for the IBM i operating system. Summit had previously invested in RoboSoft, and did well when it exited the company in 2007. Over the ensuing years, Summit had followed RoboSoft and was considering a second investment in the company when it was put up for sale again in late 2012. This time, Summit planned to invest $103.6 million from its growth equity fund and $43.9 million from its subordinated debt fund to buy out the company. This case is designed to introduce students to mezzanine investments. Because the deal involves both an equity and a subordinated debt investment, students can compare the investment considerations and return expectations of both types of investors. The case contains the actual deal team's investment memorandum summarizing the merits of the RoboSoft investment. The students are asked to qualitatively evaluate the potential benefits and risks of the investment from the perspective of a debt investor and an equity investor, and to quantitatively calculate the internal rate of returns (IRRs) and cash-on-cash returns (CoCs) of Summit's equity and subordinated debt fund investments. This case is appropriate for classes that survey private equity investments, or for corporate financing classes that wish to compare the risk and return of equity and debt investments. It is assumed that students have taken valuation courses and understand residual equity cash flow valuation methods. There are Excel files—one for students, one for instructors—to support analysis of this case.


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  • Overview

    In February 2013, John Carroll and Alexander Whittemore, both managing directors at Summit Partners (Summit), are considering an investment in RoboSoft, LLC (RoboSoft), a provider of data-center automation, business intelligence, and security software solutions, primarily for the IBM i operating system. Summit had previously invested in RoboSoft, and did well when it exited the company in 2007. Over the ensuing years, Summit had followed RoboSoft and was considering a second investment in the company when it was put up for sale again in late 2012. This time, Summit planned to invest $103.6 million from its growth equity fund and $43.9 million from its subordinated debt fund to buy out the company. This case is designed to introduce students to mezzanine investments. Because the deal involves both an equity and a subordinated debt investment, students can compare the investment considerations and return expectations of both types of investors. The case contains the actual deal team's investment memorandum summarizing the merits of the RoboSoft investment. The students are asked to qualitatively evaluate the potential benefits and risks of the investment from the perspective of a debt investor and an equity investor, and to quantitatively calculate the internal rate of returns (IRRs) and cash-on-cash returns (CoCs) of Summit's equity and subordinated debt fund investments. This case is appropriate for classes that survey private equity investments, or for corporate financing classes that wish to compare the risk and return of equity and debt investments. It is assumed that students have taken valuation courses and understand residual equity cash flow valuation methods. There are Excel files—one for students, one for instructors—to support analysis of this case.

  • Learning Objectives