Great Hill Partners Announces US$370 Million Sale of Custom House Ltd. to The Western Union Company

Explore this investment 05.07.09

Boston – May 7, 2009 – Great Hill Partners, LLC (“Great Hill”) is pleased to announce the US$370 million acquisition of Custom House Ltd. by The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU).

Custom House, based in Victoria, Canada, is a leading provider of business-to-business international payments solutions. The company, which operates in Canada, the U.S., the U.K., Italy, Australia, Singapore and New Zealand, was founded by Chairman Peter Gustavson in 1992. CEO Peter Ciceri joined Custom House in 2007.

Mark D. Taber, Partner with Great Hill, stated, “Peter Gustavson, Peter Ciceri, and the entire management team have done an outstanding job building Custom House into one of the premier independent international payments providers. We were thrilled to partner with them and expect the company will continue to thrive as part of Western Union.”

“We enjoyed our partnership with Great Hill,” said Peter Gustavson, Founder and Chairman of Custom House. “They brought a comprehensive understanding of the payments industry. Their growth-focused investment strategy enabled us to expand operations and invest in technology, positioning Custom House for long-term growth.”

The all-cash transaction is expected to close in the calendar third quarter 2009, subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions. The combination will enhance the deep international corporate payments capabilities of Custom House with the global brand and financial strength of Western Union.

Great Hill acquired a substantial minority interest in the company in February 2006. The investment was the result of Great Hill’s comprehensive analysis of the international payments sector. Great Hill first approached the company beginning in 2004, two years prior to its investment. Since Great Hill’s investment in 2006, the company has grown revenue over 20% annually to over $100 million today.

“Custom House is a great example of the kind of technology-enabled business that Great Hill targets – a strong management team operating in a large market with a growing base of recurring revenue” added Mr. Taber. “Our research-driven investment strategy allows us to identify high growth sectors. This proactive approach to the market allows us to build long-term relationships with leading companies and react quickly should the opportunity to invest arise.”

Financial Technology Partners, LP acted as financial advisor and Goodwin Procter LLP and Fillmore Riley LLP served as legal advisors to Custom House.

About Custom House

Custom House Ltd. is a global payments company that offers extensive international payment solutions using market-leading technology and a worldwide network of trading offices. From individual consumers to Fortune 500 companies, the company’s award-winning products and global banking relationships enable clients to make transactions quickly, efficiently and securely. In addition to providing customized business solutions through offices around the world including Australia, Canada, Italy, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States, Custom House sets the industry standard for compliance by championing international security and regulations. For more information, please visit

About Great Hill Partners

Great Hill Partners is a private equity firm with $2.7 billion under management. Great Hill Partners seeks to partner with middle-market companies operating in high growth sectors in the financial technology, business services, Internet, healthcare media/communications, software, and transaction processing sectors. Great Hill Partners closed its $1.1 billion fourth fund in February 2009. For more information, please visit