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FiscalNote Finalizes $180 Million Acquisition of CQ Roll Call

Deal brings together rapidly growing technology company with two of the oldest brands in Washington journalism

CQ Roll Call was acquired Monday by FiscalNote, a rapidly growing Washington-based company that uses technology to track and analyze legislation around the world. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)
CQ Roll Call was acquired Monday by FiscalNote, a rapidly growing Washington-based company that uses technology to track and analyze legislation around the world. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

FiscalNote, a rapidly growing Washington-based company that uses technology to track and analyze legislation around the world, announced Monday that it has finalized its $180 million acquisition of CQ Roll Call.

The deal, originally announced in July, brings together two of the country’s oldest brands in nonpartisan journalism with a young company with big-pocketed investors and a goal of redefining the way information is gathered and shared in Washington and other global capitals.

The combined company, now known as FiscalNote, will “continue to offer award-winning journalism along with products and services that provide access to large quantities of data, news, and analysis for all levels of government to help corporations, associations, and nonprofits of all sizes manage their issues,” it said in a press release.

“I am humbled by the opportunity to oversee the next phase of FiscalNote growth while protecting the legacy and tradition of the CQ and Roll Call brands,” said Tim Hwang, CEO of FiscalNote.

Previous parent company The Economist Group obtains an 18 percent equity stake in FiscalNote, making it the largest single shareholder.

“I have every confidence in Tim’s vision for the combined FiscalNote and in his ability to lead the team to deliver best-in-class product offerings,” said Economist Group CEO Chris Stibbs, who will join the board of directors.

FiscalNote becomes one of the largest technology employers headquartered in Washington, D.C. The company will expand its current office overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue between the U.S. Capitol and the White House, bringing the combined company under one roof, according to the press release.

As part of the transaction, S&P Global (NYSE: SPGI) takes a strategic equity investment in the D.C.-based FiscalNote and appoints Mark Blake, its global head of corporate development, as a board observer.

FiscalNote Founder Tim Hwang remains the largest individual shareholder and will lead the company going forward as chairman and CEO.

FiscalNote is currently “evaluating the processes, products, staff, and technology capabilities from each company to determine the best ways to combine the two groups,” the press release said. “The company does not plan to make any additional leadership announcements at this time; however, it will uphold CQ Roll Call’s editorial independence, while also identifying opportunities to adapt and grow in a transforming digital news landscape.”

“Combining leading edge technology with an information business where readers and users pay for content is the stuff of dreams for media companies,” said CQ Roll Call President Paul McHale. “That is what FiscalNote has created with the acquisition.”

Representatives of both companies have said it was an obvious match, combining FiscalNote’s technology with CQ Roll Call’s ability to provide context and insight into the human experience in Washington.

The deal presented an opportunity for CQ Roll Call after a “few years” of struggling to maintain robust growth, Stibbs said in July.

FiscalNote uses computer programs to scrape and analyze legislative data to forecast what will happen in Congress and other government entities. It also uses its technology to help advocacy groups track information and communicate with government officials. The business began as a startup that aggregated legislative data from state governments and has expanded to offer similar services to global markets.

Its high-profile investors and youthful CEO have attracted national attention. Hwang is 26.

CQ Roll Call produces news, analysis and grass-roots advocacy resources for government and political professionals.

The deal comes after a period of rapid fundraising and growth for FiscalNote. The company has raised more than $50 million — $12 million of which it collected this year — since it was founded in 2013 by Hwang and two childhood friends.

Its prominent early-stage investors include billionaire businessman and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, investors Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, Jerry Yang/AME Cloud Ventures, Steve Case, Renren, First Round Capital’s Dorm Room Fund, Green Visor Capital, MoneyToday, Visionnaire Ventures, Perle Ventures, NEA, and 645 Ventures.

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