Atlanta background screening and verifications company First Advantage raising $100M in IPO – Atlanta Business Chronicle

By David Allison

Editor-in-Chief, Atlanta Business Chronicle

A fast-growing, Atlanta-based background screening and verifications provider plans to raise an estimated $100 million in an initial public stock offering.

First Advantage Corp. filed plans for the IPO on May 28. The company says it has experienced consistent organic revenue growth driven by increasing demand by corporate customers for screening, verifications and ongoing monitoring due to fraud and cyber-attacks; sexual harassment and workplace violence; and the prevalence of social media impacting companies’ brands.

Founded in 2003, First Advantage says it performed more than 75 million screens in 2020. Its services include criminal background checks, drug and health screening, biometrics, identity and education checks, work verifications, resident screening, fleet and driver compliance, executive screening, and social media monitoring.

As of March 2021 the company had approximately 4,200 employees in 16 countries.

First Advantage was owned by Symphony Technology Group until January 2020, when it was acquired by California technology investment firm Silver Lake Group LLC for nearly $1.6 billion.

Accounting for the Silver Lake transaction, First Advantage in 2020 generated revenues of $509 million and a loss of $64 million.

The company says its business was hurt by the Covid-19 pandemic, with revenues declining approximately 14% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2020 as customers dramatically reduced order volumes at the onset of the pandemic. Despite the pandemic and high U.S. unemployment rates, First Advantage says its business recovered in the third quarter of 2020.

“We believe that a continued economic rebound will help drive strong hiring volumes and demand globally in 2021 and that we will continue to experience strong demand from our existing customers,” it says.

First Advantage is led by CEO Scott Staples, who has been the company’s chief since April 2017. Prior to joining First Advantage he co-founded Mindtree Ltd., a digital transformation and information technology services company.

Other top executives include David L. Gamsey, chief financial officer; Bret T. Jardine, general counsel; Joseph Jaeger, president Americas; and Joseph Osnoss, chairman.

The company says it will use the proceeds from the stock sale for general corporate purposes. It hopes to list its common stock on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “FA.”

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