Cvent Nears $5-Billion-Plus SPAC Deal

Robert Smith, CEO of Vista Equity Partners. The private equity firm took Cvent private in 2016.

Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg News

Cvent Inc. has agreed to merge with a special-purpose acquisition company in a deal that would take the event-management software company public, according to people familiar with the matter.

Cvent is slated to merge with Dragoneer Growth Opportunities Corp. II DGNS 0.40% in a transaction that values the private-equity-owned company at more than $5 billion including debt, the people said.

Cvent is owned by private-equity firm Vista Equity Partners, which took the company private in 2016 in a $1.65 billion deal.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the maker of cloud-based event-management software focused only on live events, but it has pivoted over the past year to become a major player in the fast-growing arena of virtual events.

The company’s virtual-events arm now has more than $100 million in revenue, a significant chunk of its more than $500 million in annual sales, according to one of the people familiar with the matter.

Private companies are flooding to special-purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, to bypass the traditional IPO process and gain a public listing. WSJ explains why some critics say investing in these so-called blank-check companies isn’t worth the risk. Illustration: Zoë Soriano/WSJ

SPACs raise money by going public as empty shells and then have a set period, usually about two years, to find a business to merge with. The strategy, which can be quicker and have fewer regulatory hurdles than a traditional initial public offering, has surged in popularity in recent years, though lately it has shown signs of cooling.

With more than $77 billion in assets under management, Vista specializes in investing in makers of business software. The Austin, Texas-based firm, run by founder Robert Smith, uses a proprietary playbook to boost profits at the companies it buys.

Write to Miriam Gottfried at Miriam.Gottfried@wsj.com

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Appeared in the July 21, 2021, print edition as ‘Vista’s Cvent Reaches SPAC Deal.’

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