Aurelius acquires UK-based Connect Books


  • European multi-channel wholesaler, distributor and retailer of books with revenues of approx. EUR 250 million in 2017
  • Non-core asset of UK-listed Connect Group as it focuses on its specialist logistics business
  • Significant potential for the AURELIUS operating model
  • Connect Books to be rebranded back to Bertram Group

Munich/London December 21, 2017 – AURELIUS Equity Opportunities SE & Co. KGaA (ISIN DE000A0JK2A8) (“Aurelius” or “the Group”), the listed pan-European mid-market investor, today announces the acquisition of Connect Books from FTSE-listed specialist distribution company Connect Group Plc.

Connect Books is a multi-channel wholesaler, distributor and retailer of printed and digital books, with operations in UK, the Netherlands, and France. The business has projected revenues of approximately EUR 250 million for 2017. Connect Group is selling the division as it seeks to focus its strategy on its specialist logistics business. The transaction is subject to the approval of the competition authorities and is expected to close in January 2018.

On completion, Connect Books, will be rebranded back to Bertram Group.

European multi-channel wholesaler, distributor and retailer of books with revenues of approx. EUR 250 million in 2017

Connect Books is a global multi-channel books business with a strong competitive position across the UK and Europe. It is comprised of six distinct brands as follows:

·        Bertram Books is a leading UK B2B books wholesaler. Bertram offers bespoke services, from complete stock management tools to direct fulfilment for internet retailers.

·        Wordery is the UK’s fastest growing B2C online bookshop offering access to more than 13 million titles.

·        Dawson Books is a market leading supplier of print and digital content including shelf-ready, metadata and workflow services to Universities in the UK and internationally.

·        Erasmus and Houtschild are specialist suppliers and curators of high quality print books and journals servicing academic and corporate libraries internationally, with extensive expertise in sourcing hard-to-find content.

·        Bertram Library Services is a key supplier of printed shelf ready books to public libraries in UK, Ireland and internationally.

Connect Book’s UK businesses are supported by a state-of-the-art warehouse operation in Norwich which provides consolidation, library preparation services and distribution, with capacity to also drive other products.

Significant potential for the AURELIUS operating model

In the coming months, AURELIUS operational task force experts will support Connect Books management in executing a carve-out from Connect Group, ensuring minimal distraction from the company’s day-to-day business. Following acquisition, AURELIUS will also work with the team to implement its planned growth strategy across its full brand range, with a focus on expanding the business’ international footprint, service offering, marketing capabilities and e-commerce platform.

Dirk Markus, CEO of Aurelius, commented: “We are very pleased to announce our acquisition of Connect Books, an established, global business and one of the market leaders in its sector. This acquisition is a further demonstration of AURELIUS’ position as a preferred partner for corporates seeking a complex carve-out of a non-core business and we very much look forward to working with Connect Book’s existing management to support the business in its next stage of growth.

Justin Adams, Managing Director of Connect Books, commented: “Since the decision by Connect Group to focus on becoming a specialist logistics business, we have been exploring various ownership options. In Aurelius I believe we have found an owner that has the financial and operational capabilities to help us on our journey to build the best one stop shop for content and support us in the ongoing shift towards becoming a more customer-centric, agile solutions provider for our customers and suppliers. In the immediate term it remains business as usual as we complete our peak trading season and gear up for the new calendar year.”

Categories: News


Progressus portfolio company Viju sold to the Dutch-German Private Equity firm Avedon Capital Partners

EV Private Equity

Senior Partners in EV Private Equity, Rune Jensen and Per Arne Jensen, who
established the Norwegian Private Equity fund manager Progressus in 2006, sold the Progressus portfolio company Viju to the Dutch-German Private Equity firm Avedon Capital Partners.

Under Progressus active stewardship Viju has grown its revenues from NOK 80 million to more than NOK 800 million through strong organic and acquisitive growth. Number of employees have grown from 25 to 280 and number of offices from 1 small office in Stavanger to 11 across Norway, UK, USA, Singapore and Malaysia.

Avedon Capital Partners acquires VisionsConnected and Viju to create a leading global provider of video conferencing, audiovisual and collaboration solutions

The ambition for the new combined company is to build a leading global visual collaboration company specializing in designing, installing, servicing and supporting physical and virtual meeting environments for global customers with a strategic need for videoconferencing, collaboration and audiovisual solutions.

The combined company today serves corporate and public customers in about 100 countries. It will have its official headquarter in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and will continue to serve customers from multiple office locations throughout EMEA, USA & APAC. A new brand, that reflects the evolution of these two reputable businesses into an integrated global organization, is expected to be launched in early 2018.

Rune Jensen (Progressus Private Equity, majority owner Viju): “Under our ownership, Viju has tenfolded revenues and established offices around the globe. We look forward to following the new company’s continued journey, and believe Avedon is very well positioned to take it to the next level”


About Viju
Viju is a global visual communications specialist, whose aim is to transform the way people communicate and collaborate in the workplace. Their solutions and services include video conferencing, audio visual integration and unified communications and collaboration.

About VisionsConnected
VisionsConnected is a global visual collaboration specialist on a mission to change the way people collaborate. They create and deliver cloud-based, high quality, secure and user-friendly video conferencing services to customers in over 120 countries.

About Avedon Capital Partners
Avedon Capital Partners is an investor passionate about supporting outstanding entrepreneurs and management teams of growth companies to realize their ambitions together. It is located in Amsterdam (NL) and Düsseldorf (GER). Avedon focuses on niches within four sectors: Software & Technology, Business Services, Industry & Engineering, and Consumer & Leisure. Since it was established, the team has invested in over 20 growth capital transactions and has achieved a strong track record of growth

About Progressus

Progressus is a private equity company based in Stavanger, Norway,  providing capital and competence to growth companies in the oil and gas and technology sectors. In 2015 Progressus Management joined Energy Ventures to form EV Private Equity.


Categories: News


Almi Invest invests in Referanza with Kichi Invest and Bo Mattsson

Almi Invest

Almi Invest invests SEK 2.5 million in Referanza, which is developing a tool to help companies identify their most satisfied customers to the next step to use them in their marketing by making them microinfluencers in social media.

In the issue, totaling over 6 million will also participate including Kichi Invest, the game company Paradox Interactive CEO Fredrik Wester is the majority shareholder, and Bo Mattsson, the serial entrepreneur who founded the company Cint, Mangold Fondkommission, EuroTrader and Nettrader.

Referanza has developed a tool which helps the company to get their satisfied customers to easily recommend their positive experiences and products they like to their friends in social media. The companies will then have the real, personal, credible trial and will thus away from the problems that Trustpilot and recommendation sites have false positive reviews. And while driving it on sale. Verified Customer Rating is magical content and gold worth of business because consumers tend to rely more on their friends’ recommendations than on traditional advertising.

There are a variety of solutions that are reminiscent of the Referanza make such referral marketing solutions that focus on satisfied customers to tell their friends about a product or service in social media, and digital survey solutions (NPS) where customer feedback is collected to find out what customers thought. But no one takes a structured approach to be on the positive customer experiences that people spread in social media. USP of Referanza lies in the self-service tools that they developed Referanzas where customers can see the entire flow, for example, through which social channels to their customers and their friends spread their positive reviews, which customers are most likely to share how great social influence of different customers, the friends that click like, which customers recommend and what they recommend (and thus is a new lead)

Every year several billion customer experiences. Referanzas product will be used in an endless variety of verticals which was making the market very large. It has initially chosen to focus on clients in the entertainment, such as cinema, theater, stand-up and sports.

We see a strong increase in the use of our platform, primarily from companies in the ticketing and entertainment industry, where hundreds of thousands of consumers already passed our mobile Flow, says Joakim Turesson, chief executive and co-founder of Referanza.Vi has a very high response rate and high viral spread is partly because that our tools are very easy to use, and we ask our customers in real time, ie immediately after the customer has the experience and the most full of it.

Categories: News


Korona Invest Fund becomes a major shareholder in digital agency Wunder


Wunder, an international full-service digital agency operating in several European countries, will boost its growth with Korona.

Operating in Finland, UK, Germany, Estonia, and Latvia, Wunder is seeking strong growth opportunities. Today, a fund managed by Korona Invest, will become a major shareholder of Wunder. The company, which focuses on online business, agile methods and open source systems, aims to increase its turnover many times over.

We promote openness, humane approach and agile behaviour in all our activities, both within the company and in our customer relations. This is how we shake up the usual habits of working and leave a positive footprint as both an employer, and as a service provider. This footprint will and should be expanded!” says Joonas Kiminki, who continues as the CEO of the company. “The collaboration with Korona will help us to grow by bringing in both professional governance and financial backing. There has been a strong common will and trust from the very beginning” he continues.

The goal is to increase net sales of the Wunder companies’ in the coming years – from the current EUR 7 million to EUR 25 to 35 million“, says Korona Invest’s partner Jouni Pohjonen. “Skilful, thriving and satisfied staff is a key success factor in a successful consultancy. By growing and developing, Wunder’s current team of more than 120 experts will be nearly tripled, as skilled talent will be offered more great employment opportunities in international development projects“, he continues.

In addition to Joonas Kiminki, the remaining shareholders working in the company will continue to be significant shareholders. Solita’s founder and former CEO Heikki Halme will become a shareholder and the company’s new chairman of the Board of Directors.

Due to digitalisation, Wunder is in a great position in the fast-growing ICT service market. The company has often been ranked among the top companies in the Great Place to Work-survey. I myself am excited by the opportunity to work with motivated professionals in a company that’s based on a modern flat organizational structure. Since its inception, Wunder has been growing into an international company, which offers a wealth of opportunities for the company’s growth and development“, says Heikki Halme.

Wunder includes Wunder Finland Oy, Wunderkraut GmbH, Wunder Ltd, Wunder Estonia Oü and Wunder Latvia SIA. Wunder is an international company specialising in web services. We focus on e-business, agile methods, and the open source Drupal system. The company’s net sales are approximately EUR 7 million and they employ more than 120 permanent staff.

Korona Fund III Ky
Korona Fund III Ky is a venture capital fund specialised in financing growing companies, looking for growth-oriented and desirable companies in need of both capital and business management skills to achieve growth potential.

Korona Invest Oy
Korona Invest is an entrepreneurial venture capital management company specialising in financing growth companies with EUR 2-20 million euro turnover.

For more information:

Managing Director Joonas Kiminki, tel. +358 40 900 4725
Chairman of the Board Heikki Halme, tel. +358 40 581 3000

Korona Invest, partner Jouni Pohjonen, tel. +358 50 3263 904

Categories: News


Ardian Acquires stake in T2O Media

Paris, 27 June 2017

– Ardian, the independent private equity company,today announces its acquisition of a minority stake in T2O media, the leading independent digital media agency in Spain.

Founded in 2004 by current CEO Oscar Alonso and CIO Tomas Hernandez, T2O media has cemented its status as Spain’s premier independent digital agency. In addition to its original locations in Madrid and Barcelona, the company has opened offices in Milan, Trento, Mexico City and, most recently, Houston, which it opened in 2016. The agency’s clients include top-tier Spanish companies active in the travel industry, including Barceló Hotel Group, Bahia Principe and Palladium, as well as financial institutions, such as Aegon, Axa and Unicredit.

Óscar Alonso, CEO of T2O media, said: ‘After acquiring Webperformance in Italy and opening our new office in the United States, we wanted to continue this development phase with support from a leading partner which understands the dynamics of our market and is capable of helping us seize opportunities. Given its expertise in the sector and its track record, Ardian Growth was the natural choice as the partner to work with us.’ In addition to the network and expertise Ardian can provide to support growing companies, this partnership will help the management team consolidate its position in Southern Europe and underwrite its ambitions of helping advertisers reach Spanish-speaking markets in Mexico and the United States. In this rapidly expanding industry, T2O media is one of the few independent agencies to have successfullypenetrated the Mexican market while at the same time drawing on its digital expertise to attract North American clients.

Bertrand Schapiro, Senior Investment Manager at Ardian Growth, added: ‘In the constantly evolving agency market, T2O media has cemented its leading position in Spain. The team has the reputation and the ambition to become a top international player for brands looking to reach the Spanish-speaking market in Europe and LATAM.’

Geoffroy de La Grandière, Director of Ardian Growth, added: ‘After making several investments in Italy,our first push into Spain solidifies our positioning as a premier growth equity player in France and Southern Europe.’


T2O media is a Digital Media Agency founded in 2004,that designs and manages marketing and communication strategies with a results orientated approach (Paid, Owned, Earned Media, relying always on Technology). His team has achieved important awards: T2O media has been named National Champion in the UKTI Innovation category by the Europeans Business Awards 2016 and is one of the first companies in the world to have obtained the title of DoubleClick Certified Marketing Partner. Currently has permanent offices in Europe, LATAM and US, where is the partner of major brands. Its clients include Barceló Hotel Group, Honda, Unicredit, José Cuervo, Movistar, Nextel and AXA insurance.


Ardian, founded in 1996 and led by Dominique Senequier, is an independent private equity company with assets of US$62bn managed or advised in Europe, North America and Asia. The company, which is majority- owned by its employees, keeps entrepreneurship at its heart and delivers investment performance to its global investors while fuelling growth in economies across the world. Ardian’s investment process embodies three values: excellence, loyalty and entrepreneurship. Ardian maintains a truly global network, with more than 450 employees working through twelve offices in Paris, London, Frankfurt, Milan, Madrid, Zurich, New York, San Francisco, Beijing, Singapore, Jersey, Luxembourg. The company offers its 580 investors a diversified choice of funds covering the full range of asset classes, including Ardian Funds of Funds (primary, early secondary and secondary), Ardian Private Debt, Ardian Buyout (including Ardian Mid Cap Buyout Europe & North America, Ardian Expansion, Ardian Growth and Ardian Co-Investment), Ardian Infrastructure, Ardian Real Estate and Ardian Mandates.


Categories: News


Major investment in the media company ContentCentral

Almi Invest’s portfolio companies ContentCentral in Umeå offers an online service that connects journalists and editors for the sale and distribution of articles and news. Now the company has brought in SEK 8.7 million from investors.

Content Central has since autumn 2014 helped the media house and freelance journalists in Sweden to sell and distribute editorial content. Over 3000 freelance journalists, writers and photographers are connected to the service and signed up thousands of articles, crosswords and images for sale.

The company has now developed into 8.7 million SEK in venture capital, most of which was from Fort Knox and Partners Invest North, part of Almi Invest. Together they have gone in with seven million by issuing new shares. Also converts the Silicon Valley-based VC company 500 Startups earlier paid convertible loan of 1.7 million of shares.

– It feels good to finish this round we have been working on for about ten months. Getting into Fort Knox and Partners Invest as local investors feel really good. They have financial muscle, good skills and have important contacts, but above all we will be able to work close to each other which is important in the phase where we are in. For it feels it is of course very exciting to get the 500 Startups to ownership, which can give us interesting inputs internationally, says Joachim Ljungquist, founder and CEO.

The media industry is under a lot of structural and currently employs over 50 percent of the world’s journalists on a freelance basis. ContentCentral is a platform that simplifies deployment, rights and payment of editorial content.

– We have had dialogue regarding an investment in ContentCentral for a long time and it feels great to now be involved in bringing the business forward. The company has an interesting solution that can be an important part of the transformation that the media industry is going through right now. In addition, the platform, the economy in general, an increasingly important business model, says Henrik Wimelius, investment manager for digital business concepts at Fort Knox.

Right now developing the next generation of service with the new technology, which will be the company’s first live version. In addition, work is underway in full swing for the establishment in the UK.

– I have had the privilege to follow the company since its inception and looks really potential to get out of the English-language market that is much larger than the Swedish. On the occasion of the international ambition included ContentCentral we want to be understood to be on the trip, says Lena Fridlund Forsgren, investment manager at Partner Invest North.

The investment will be used to increase resources for the development and for the establishment of new markets.

Operations are conducted through the company Syndigate AB, where Almi Invest is one of the partners.

Categories: News


Nordic Capital acquires world-leading innovative research technology provider Cint

Nordic Capital Logo

Nordic Capital Fund VIII (‘Nordic Capital’) has acquired Cint, a leading global player in the insights data collection technology market. Nordic Capital will support Cint’s successful position as a leading global platform, aiding continued accelerated growth in an industry where consumers are becoming increasingly mobile and digital, and brand marketing spend is shifting to online.

Nordic Capital acquires Cint from a large shareholder group that includes Prime Ventures, Creandum, Cipio Partners, the founder, and a group of individual investors and employees.

Fredrik Näslund, Partner at NC Advisory AB, advisor to the Nordic Capital Funds said: “Nordic Capital is impressed by the quality and efficiency of Cint’s technology, its strong value proposition to its customers and the quick adoption of the technology. The company is ideally placed to add value to both suppliers and buyers of research panels as a fully automated, truly global platform. Nordic Capital looks forward to supporting the management team in further accelerating Cint’s growth as well as investing in further development of the company and its products.”

Cint’s CEO Morten Strand added: “We are very pleased that Nordic Capital has chosen to invest in Cint. Nordic Capital’s extensive experience of successfully developing and growing technology businesses, in cooperation with management and employees, suits us very well and gives us the opportunity to continue our positive development. In the age of accelerating digital transformation in consumer insights and behaviour, we will together continue to be a leader in technology innovation for the market research industry.”

Cint’s main product is OpinionHUB, a B2B exchange for seeking and collecting insights. The platform connects the buy-side – typically a market research firm that needs to access panellists for consumer research – with the sell-side, the companies owning consumer panels. This allows the customer easy access to a specific number of pre-defined, deeply profiled panellists in a specific country, region or local area in the world, through the platform’s self-service and real time matching algorithms.

Since launching its OpinionHUB panel marketplace platform in 2005, Cint has rapidly evolved in a technology centric environment and has established a profitable business model, which benefits the whole value chain when working with consumer surveys, as it reduces time and costs for all parties. Cint has a track record of launching industry ‘firsts’ that have raised standards in innovation, transparency and quality within the market research world.

Cint is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden and has 13 offices in major cities across Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific. The company has over 140 employees. Cint has enjoyed exponential growth and development over the last 10 years, and targets above 30% growth annually on average. With Nordic Capital as the new owner, Cint will continue on its rapid growth path, securing a leading position in the sector.

The parties have agreed not to disclose the financial terms of the transaction.

The investment is subject to approval by the relevant authorities.

Press contacts:

Nordic Capital
Katarina Janerud, Communications Manager
NC Advisory AB, advisor to the Nordic Capital Funds
Tel: +46 8 440 50 50

Morten Strand CEO
Tel: +46 709702974


About Cint

Cint provides access to opinions by innovating market research technology. The company reaches over 19 million people in over 65 countries, all sourced via 800 different panels owned by publishers, local media outlets, market research agencies and non-profits. Cint’s exchange platform, OpinionHUB, a fully transparent insight marketplace, brings together questions and answers from all around the world. Cint is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden and has offices in major cities across Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific. For more information, please see

About Nordic Capital

Nordic Capital private equity funds have invested in mid-market companies primarily in the Nordic region since 1989. Through committed ownership and by targeting strategic development and operational improvements, Nordic Capital enables value creation in its investments. Nordic Capital Funds invest in companies in northern Europe and in selected investment opportunities internationally. The most recent fund is Nordic Capital Fund VIII with EUR 3.5 billion in committed capital, principally provided by international institutional investors such as pension funds. Nordic Capital Funds are based in Jersey, Channel Islands, and are advised by the NC Advisory companies in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Germany and the UK. For further information about Nordic Capital please see

Categories: News