Ratos strengthen its cash position in the continued growth journey – divests all shares in Dun & Bradstreet

Ratos

Ratos has divested all its 4,358,257 shares in Dun & Bradstreet to a value of approximately SEK 725m.

The shares accounted for 25 percent of the purchase price when Ratos divested Bisnode to Dun & Bradstreet for a purchase price based on an approximate enterprise value of SEK 7,200m, representing an EV/EBITA multiple of 13,8x, in 2020.

The deal will have a negative impact on Ratos’s EBITA for the second quarter 2022 of approximately SEK 18m.

“Ratos’s value creation is based on, among other things, organic growth and industrially sound acquisitions. Through the sale of the Dun & Bradstreet shares, we are further strengthening our cash position for the continued growth journey” says Jonas Wiström, President and CEO, Ratos.

Jonas Wiström will continue to be part of the Dun & Bradstreet International Strategic Advisory Board. Dun & Bradstreet is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

For further information:
Josefine Uppling, VP Communication, Ratos, +46 76 114 54 21

About Ratos
Ratos is a business group consisting of 14 companies divided into three business areas: Construction & Services, Consumer and Industry. In total 2021, the companies have approximately SEK 25 billion in net sales. Our business concept is to own and develop companies that are or can become market leaders. We have a distinct corporate culture and strategy – everything we do is based on our core values: Simplicity, Speed in execution and It’s All About People. We enable independent companies to excel by being part of something larger. People, leadership, culture and values are key focus areas.

 

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PAI Partners acquires HKA from Bridgepoint

PAI Partners

PAI Partners (“PAI”), a pre-eminent private equity firm, today announces that it has agreed to acquire HKA (the “Company”), a leading global consultancy in risk mitigation and dispute resolution, from Bridgepoint.

Headquartered in the United Kingdom, HKA provides a comprehensive set of specialist offerings, including Expert, Claims and Advisory services for the capital projects and infrastructure sector. The Company has over 130 partners and more than 1,000 experts, consultants and advisors across 40+ offices in 18 countries.

HKA works with law firms, contractors, owners, operators, and other professional service providers across the breadth of the risk mitigation and dispute resolution market. The Company’s global portfolio includes some of the world’s largest and most prestigious commissions across a wide range of industries including industrial & manufacturing, power & utilities, resources and energy transition, transportation infrastructure, buildings, technology, financial services and government contracts.

Under Bridgepoint’s ownership, HKA has seen significant growth in its Claims, Dispute Resolution and Litigation Support business and successfully developed new service lines, including its offerings in Forensic Technical Services and Forensic Accounting and Commercial Damages. The Company significantly expanded its US operations through the transformational acquisition of The Kenrich Group in 2019, creating the region’s largest construction claims consultancy as well as significantly strengthening HKA’s global capabilities in forensics, commercial damages and government contract services. In 2020, the Company bolstered its Forensic Technical Services offering by acquiring Probyn Miers, the UK’s leading firm of Expert Architects in the field of Construction Dispute Avoidance and Resolution.

PAI will support HKA’s management team in delivering their future growth plans, including accelerating HKA’s growth through development into adjacent services and through selective and targeted M&A opportunities.

“HKA has been a successful investment for Bridgepoint. Working closely with management, together we built significant value by establishing a strong partnership culture, focusing on strategic geographic markets and undertaking selective M&A as well as a comprehensive operational improvement programme.
These initiatives mean that the business is now well positioned for further growth under new ownership,” said Jeannele M’bembath, Director at Bridgepoint Development Capital.

Renny Borhan, CEO of HKA, commented: “I am extremely proud of the successes the team at HKA has achieved to date, and I am very thankful for Bridgepoint’s support and expertise over the last five years. We are very excited to be partnering with PAI Partners in the next phase of our growth.”

Neil McIlroy, Partner at PAI Partners, added: “HKA is uniquely positioned in the large and fragmented risk mitigation and dispute resolution market, with attractive long-term growth prospects. We look forward to supporting Renny and his talented team
as they pursue organic and inorganic initiatives to deliver their ambitious business strategy.”

PAI Partners was advised by Rothschild & Co. and DC Advisory (M&A); Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP (Legal); Alvarez & Marsal (Financial); and Bain & Company (Commercial). Bridgepoint was advised by J.P. Morgan (M&A); Travers Smith (Legal); BDO (Financial); and OC&C (Commercial).

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions.

Media contacts

Greenbrook Communications:
James Madsen – Fanni Bodri
Tel.: +44 207 952 2000
pai@greenbrookpr.com

HKA
Josephine Guckian, Partner, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer
Tel: +44 7740 421 796
josephineguckian@hka.com

Bridgepoint
Christian Jones – James Murray
Tel: +44 207 034 3500
Media@bridgepoint.eu

 

About PAI Partners

PAI Partners is a pre-eminent private equity firm, investing in market-leading companies across the globe. It currently manages more than €17 billion of dedicated buyout funds and, since 1994, has completed 88 investments in 11 countries, representing over €65 billion in transaction value. PAI has built an outstanding track record through partnering with ambitious management teams where its unique perspective, unrivalled sector experience and long-term vision enable companies to pursue their full potential – and push beyond.
Learn more about the PAI story, the team and their approach at: www.paipartners.com

About HKA

Headquartered in the United Kingdom, HKA is a leading global consultancy in risk mitigation and dispute resolution. HKA provides a comprehensive set of specialist offerings, including Expert, Claims and Advisory services for the capital projects and infrastructure sector. The Company has over 130 partners and more than 1000 experts, consultants and advisors across 40+ offices in 18 countries.
Find out more at: www.hka.com

About Bridgepoint Development Capital

Bridgepoint Development Capital (‘BDC’) invests in midcap companies across Europe. It is part of Bridgepoint, the international alternative private assets management group, whose AUM exceeds €33 billion.
BDC invests in and works actively to develop successful businesses undertaking growth and expansion, with enterprise values typically up to £250 million. It is currently investing its fourth fund, the £1.5 billion Bridgepoint Development Capital IV.
Bridgepoint has offices in Europe (Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London, Luxemburg, Madrid, Paris, and Stockholm), the US (New York and San Francisco), and China (Shanghai).
For further information see www.bridgepoint.eu

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Apollo to Invest in Siebert Williams Shank, One of the Nation’s Leading Certified Women and Minority Owned Financial Services Firms to Form New Strategic Partnership

Apollo Global
Strategic partnership part of Apollo’s ongoing efforts to expand opportunity across its ecosystem and contribute to a more inclusive economy

NEW YORK, April 12, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Apollo (NYSE: APO) and Siebert Williams Shank (“SWS”) today announced the formation of a strategic partnership, whereby Apollo has agreed to invest in SWS, a leading, national women and minority owned financial services firm providing investment banking, sales and trading, research and advisory services. The new commitment aims to drive larger deal flow and revenue opportunities to strengthen and expand SWS’s already robust position in the investment banking and global capital markets arena.

As part of the strategic partnership, Apollo, along with its managed funds, will make a combined equity and credit investment that is expected to significantly increase SWS’s underwriting capacity for debt and equity offerings. This will also enhance SWS’s ability to bridge the investment and liability management needs of its corporate and municipal clients with the product expertise offered by Apollo.

“Since inception, SWS has sought to continue to grow in scope and capabilities to better serve our clients. This strategic partnership will certainly enhance our capacity and competitive position in the capital markets and maintain our strong performance-based culture as we serve clients globally,” said Siebert Williams Shank President & CEO, Suzanne Shank.

“Apollo and Siebert’s longstanding relationship spans two-plus decades, and this new strategic partnership is a natural next step to help accelerate their growth,” said Apollo Co-President Jim Zelter. “At Apollo, our commitment to expanding opportunity extends to the marketplace and making an intentional effort to support the success of diverse financial institutions and employers. SWS, already a leading player in investment banking and global markets, will be able to attract larger deals and do more for clients through this mutually beneficial relationship. We are thrilled to formally team up with Chris Williams, Suzanne Shank and the entire SWS team.”

“We are extremely enthusiastic to have earned the confidence of one of the industry’s most sophisticated alternative asset managers and look forward to identifying opportunities to leverage Apollo’s renowned expertise across multiple asset classes with the strong franchise that SWS has built among corporations, municipalities, and institutional investors,” said Christopher Williams, Chairman, Siebert Williams Shank.

This agreement is the latest expression of Apollo’s commitment to Expanding Opportunity in its workplace, marketplace and communities. Most recently, Apollo established its first-ever Foundation, with plans to provide more than $100 million over the next decade to organizations working across educational access, workforce development and economic empowerment.

The investments are subject to customary closing conditions, including certain regulatory approvals.

About Apollo
Apollo is a high-growth, global alternative asset manager. We seek to provide our clients excess return at every point along the risk-reward spectrum from Investment grade to private equity with a focus on three business strategies: yield, hybrid and opportunistic. Through our investment activity across our fully integrated platform, we serve the retirement income and financial return needs of our clients, and we offer innovative capital solutions to businesses. Our patient, creative, knowledgeable approach to investing aligns our clients, businesses we invest in, our employees and the communities we impact, to expand opportunity and achieve positive outcomes. As of December 31, 2021, Apollo had approximately $498 billion assets under management. To learn more, visit www.apollo.com.

About Siebert Williams Shank
Siebert Williams Shank & Co., LLC (“SWS”) is an independent non-bank financial services firm that offers investment banking, sales and trading, research, and advisory services. SWS provides customized solutions incorporating comprehensive financial advisory, capital raising and risk management guidance with the mission of delivering the highest level of value-added services to our clients. Dually headquartered in New York and Oakland, our firm is comprised of over 125 diverse professionals spanning 19 offices across the United States. SWS serves a broad spectrum of clients, including corporations, governments, municipalities and institutional investors. Building enduring client partnerships through integrity, experience, and results is our priority.

Contacts

For Apollo:

Noah Gunn
Global Head of Investor Relations
Apollo Global Management, Inc.
(212) 822-0540
IR@apollo.com

Joanna Rose
Global Head of Corporate Communications
Apollo Global Management, Inc.
(212) 822-0491
Communications@apollo.com

For Siebert Williams Shank:

Tom Butler
tbutler@butlerpr.com
Butler Associates
(646) 213-1802

 


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Source: Apollo Global Management, Inc.

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Liquidity Group Announces $775 Million in Capital Commitments led by Apollo and MUFG

Apollo Global

Apollo Funds to Serve as a New Capital Partner for Liquidity’s Fast-Growing, Credit-Oriented Platform

Existing Investors MUFG Bank and Spark Capital Commit Additional Capital

TEL AVIV, Israel & NEW YORK & TOKYO–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Liquidity Group (or “Liquidity”) today announced that it has entered into agreements with respect to approximately $775 million in capital commitments year-to-date 2022, led by funds and entities managed by affiliates of Apollo (NYSE: APO). The commitments, which are subject to satisfaction of certain conditions, will include $425 million from Apollo Funds for a credit facility to help Liquidity scale its lending activity for late-stage technology companies, $300 million from MUFG Bank (NYSE: MUFG), for a debt fund JV named Mars Growth Capital, investing in future unicorn companies, as well as a $50 million SAFE note investment by Apollo Funds, MUFG Innovation Partners and Spark Capital.

Liquidity Group Announces $775 Million in Capital Commitments led by Apollo and MUFG (Photo: Business Wire)Liquidity Group Announces $775 Million in Capital Commitments led by Apollo and MUFG (Photo: Business Wire)

Liquidity Group, founded in 2018, is a credit-oriented fintech platform that invests, syndicates and automates growth and middle market lending for businesses around the world, providing capital mainly to later-stage technology companies. MUFG’s core banking subsidiary, MUFG Bank, is a key strategic capital partner to Liquidity, having invested equity venture capital in the business as well as formed multiple joint lending ventures.

For Apollo, the new commitments are consistent with its strategy to serve as a capital partner, enabler, and strategic investor in specialty lending companies with strong credit underwriting and innovative features such as Liquidity’s data-driven platform for credit formation, diligence, and monitoring. Apollo Partner, Joshua Black, will also join Liquidity’s Board of Directors.

“We’re pleased to form this new capital partnership with Liquidity Group to support their growth while helping our investors access attractive yield with strong credit fundamentals,” said Bret Leas, Apollo Partner and Global Head of Structured Corporate Credit & ABS. “Ron and his team at Liquidity are connecting technology borrowers and credit investors via an innovative, data-driven ecosystem, and we look forward to working with them as they scale the business.”

“The new capital partnership with Apollo and the continued and successful partnership with MUFG is validation of our founding vision to use artificial intelligence to transform the capital markets,” said Ron Daniel, Co-Founder and CEO of Liquidity Group. “Our patented technology offers unparalleled insight into private growth companies and enables robust predictions about their future. Working with Apollo will allow us to continue our own expansion, fund more companies, and provide reliable returns on investment to our partners. Josh, Jasen and the rest of the Apollo team have proved to be the right partners for this ride with their passion to adopt best of breed solutions.”

“MUFG is welcoming Apollo’s investment to Liquidity Capital. We are aiming to provide various financial services to start-up companies and to the ecosystem as a whole, together with the investing partners,” says Fumitaka Nakahama, Group Head, Global Corporate & Investment Banking Business Group, MUFG.

Liquidity has integrated machine learning and real-time data and performance monitoring across its platform to enhance, automate and expedite processes across the full credit investment lifecycle. Since inception, Liquidity has committed more than $1 billion in capital to fast-growing companies, including Etoro, Zetwerk & Homer.

Amit, Pollak, Matalon & Co. served as legal counsel to Liquidity. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and Shibolet Law Firm served as legal counsel to Apollo.

About Liquidity

Founded in 2018, the Liquidity Group is a global capital market credit automation company and fund manager providing growth capital through funds focused on the US, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Liquidity Group’s subsidiary fund, Singapore-based Mars Growth Capital, and its partner MUFG [NYSE:MUFG] jointly handle the company’s South East Asia activity. It combines real-time data with proprietary machine learning technology to offer tailored financing that matches a company’s future growth. Liquidity Group operates three main divisions: Analysis, Capital, and Market Syndication, which together enable global lenders a complete cycle of scaled and quick credit deployment. www.liquiditygroup.com

About Apollo

Apollo is a global, high-growth alternative asset manager. In our asset management business, we seek to provide our clients excess return at every point along the risk-reward spectrum from investment grade to private equity with a focus on three business strategies: yield, hybrid, and equity. For more than three decades, our investing expertise across our fully integrated platform has served the financial return needs of our clients and provided businesses with innovative capital solutions for growth. Through Athene, our retirement services business, we specialize in helping clients achieve financial security by providing a suite of retirement savings products and acting as a solutions provider to institutions. Our patient, creative, and knowledgeable approach to investing aligns our clients, businesses we invest in, our employees, and the communities we impact, to expand opportunity and achieve positive outcomes. As of December 31, 2021, Apollo had approximately $498 billion of assets under management. To learn more, please visit www.apollo.com.

About MUFG

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. (MUFG) is one of the world’s leading financial groups. Headquartered in Tokyo and with over 360 years of history, MUFG has a global network with approximately 2,500 locations in more than 50 countries. The Group has about 170,000 employees and offers services including commercial banking, trust banking, securities, credit cards, consumer finance, asset management, and leasing. The Group aims to “be the world’s most trusted financial group” through close collaboration among our operating companies and flexibly respond to all of the financial needs of our customers, serving society, and fostering shared and sustainable growth for a better world. MUFG’s shares trade on the Tokyo, Nagoya, and New York stock exchanges. For more information, visit https://www.mufg.jp/English.

For Apollo:
Noah Gunn
Global Head of Investor Relations
Apollo Global Management, Inc.
(212) 822-0540
IR@apollo.com

Joanna Rose
Global Head of Corporate Communications
Apollo Global Management, Inc.
(212) 822-0491
Communications@apollo.com

For Liquidity Group:
Jared Shapiro
The Tag Experience
(917) 553-4542
jared@thetagexperience.com

Source: Liquidity Group

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BDC exits investment in Groupe CIR

Bridgepoint

BlackFin Capital Partners, leading European investor in the financial services sector with €2 billion euros in assets under management, has signed an agreement to become majority shareholder of Groupe CIR, French leader in design, structuring and distribution of savings products based on underlying city-center real estate. BlackFin will replace Bridgepoint Development Capital to support the management team led by CIR founders François Larrère and Franck Temim as they embark on a new phase of growth.

Founded in 1988, Groupe CIR has established its position as independent specialist in city-center real-estate investment. The Group provides French savers and institutional investors with products based on underlying high-quality city-center real estate through three offers: CIR for direct investment in Malraux products, land deficits and historic monuments, Urban Premium for indirect investment through housing and yield real estate investment companies, and Agarim for bare ownership investment. The Group markets more than 1250 investment packages a year through a network of over 800 banking partners and asset management advisors.

Since 2017, with Bridgepoint’s support, CIR has more than doubled in size, boosting its revenue to over €25 million while consolidating its core business and accelerating diversification, notably through integration of Agarim and partnerships signed with top-flight institutional investors.

BlackFin will become the majority shareholder in Groupe CIR and its subsidiaries, alongside its founders, François Larrère and Franck Temim and the management team. They share the same ambition to accelerate the Group’s growth with the aim of offering more high-quality products to the savers and institution investors making up its customer base. Completion of the operation is subject to regulatory approval.

Francois Larrere Chairman of Groupe CIR:

“In this press release we talk about the year – 1998 – in which CIR was created.

It is legitimate to ask questions about the reasons behind a company’s long-term success.

Why do some achieve excellence over all these years? How do they continue to thrive despite the troubled periods that inevitably arise in the natural course of events?

GROUPE CIR has become leader in its business sector by consistently fostering development, change and renewal and setting itself challenging targets.

Most important, it has forged its character through a corporate culture whose first principle defines ‘Quality’ as nothing other than customer satisfaction.

This success is built on the skills and motivation of all the partners who have collaborated with us in a spirit of shared success.

During these five years of collaboration with Bridgepoint Development Capital, CIR Groupe has enjoyed significant growth in every aspect of its business.

Today, alongside BlackFin Capital Partners, we are ready to embark on a new period of strong growth. Our relationship is established, based on agreements setting the ‘Course to Follow’ for shared prosperity.“

Franck Temim, CEO of Groupe CIR: “Capitalizing on our Group’s unique positioning in France, we are keen to participate in growth of a savings market fueled by strong demand from private and institutional investors by proposing a broad range of high-quality and environmentally sustainable investment opportunities based on underlying real-estate assets.

The arrival of a major specialist such as BlackFin Capital Partners as new shareholder gives us the enthusiasm and ambition to accelerate our growth and diversification.“

Bertrand Demesse, Partner at Bridgepoint Development Capital : “We are very proud to have had the opportunity to accompany Groupe CIR in its ambitious development over the last few years. From the beginning of our collaboration at end 2017, Groupe CIR has considerably accelerated its growth, doubling in size by strengthening its core business and accelerating its diversification. Today, more than ever, Groupe CIR has all the strengths it needs to continue growing under the leadership of a talented management team.”

Bruno Rostain, Founding Partner at BlackFin Capital Partners: “We are very enthusiastic about the idea of working with CIR’s management team to write the next page of the Group’s history. We will support its growth initiatives, particularly as concerns institutional investors, digitization and a policy of targeted acquisitions.”

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FCG partners with IK to build a leading GRC services provider in the European market

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IK Partners

FCG Group AB (“FCG”) is pleased to announce a partnership with IK Partners (“IK”), with the target to become a leading governance, risk management and compliance (“GRC”) services provider in the European market. IK acquires its stake in FCG from Bridgepoint Group plc (“Bridgepoint”), becoming the new majority owner.

IK, a European private equity firm, announced today that IK Small Cap III Fund has signed an agreement to acquire FCG, from international private equity group Bridgepoint. The deal, which is subject to customary regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2022. Financial terms of the transaction are not disclosed.

FCG is a GRC services provider, offering advisory, outsourcing, GRC technology and fund administration services to the financial services industry. With in-depth expertise, FCG helps clients manage their challenges and guide them in an ever-changing environment. Founded in 2008 and headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, FCG has evolved to become a leading Nordic GRC player with more than 270 employees located across six offices in the Nordics and Germany. FCG is serving a diversified customer base ranging from fast-growing fintech start-ups to large banks.

Together with IK, FCG plans to continue its international growth strategy, further strengthen the service offering within key growth areas such as ESG and build its position as a leading GRC technology provider. IK is acquiring its stake alongside management and key employees who will be reinvesting and remain significant shareholders. FCG will continue to be led by the CEO Kristian Bentzer and his team.

“We are pleased to welcome IK as our new partner and majority owner as we embark on the next phase of our journey to become a leading European GRC-firm. This partnership will form a solid basis on which we can further strengthen and accelerate our growth ambitions. Since inception, we have continuously developed our offering to become a full-service GRC player in the Nordics and Germany and we look forward to expanding our geographical presence and service offering together with IK.” says Kristian Bentzer, Group CEO and Partner at FCG.

“FCG occupies a leading position in a growing market with favourable underlying drivers. In an ever-evolving regulatory environment with increased complexity, the demand for GRC services is expected to increase over time. We’ve been following FCG for many years and believe the company is well positioned to cater to that demand and we look forward to partnering with Kristian and the entire FCG team to continue to build upon their impressive track record.” says Erik Ingemarsson, Partner at IK Partners and Advisor to the IK Small Cap III Fund.

“We have had the pleasure to partner with a talented and highly committed team; the progress that FCG has achieved during our ownership has been impressive. During this period, FCG has more than doubled in size, through both internal business development and M&A, expanding the service offering across the GRC arena, added tech capabilities and software solutions and also expanded internationally. FCG is now well placed to continue its growth ambitions and development under new ownership, and we look forward to following the Company’s future development.” says Johan Dahlfors, Partner at Bridgepoint Development Capital and responsible for its investment activities in the Nordic region.

The transaction is subject to competition clearance and regulatory approvals.

For media enquiries and further information, please contact:

FCG
Kristian Bentzer, Group CEO and Partner
+46766350507
kristian.bentzer@fcg.se

Maria Sandström Anderson, Chief Marketing Officer
+46733850643
maria.sandstrom@fcg.se

IK Partners
Vidya Verlkumar, Marketing and Communications Manager
+447787558193
vidya.verlkumar@ikpartners.com

Bridgepoint
James Murray
+44 207 034 3555
james.murray@bridgepoint.eu

About FCG

FCG is a leading governance, risk and compliance firm, offering best-in-class services and tech solutions to the European financial industry. Since 2008, FCG has combined financial, legal and technological expertise to advise and challenge the financial industry with insights and experience. FCG helps their clients navigate a changing and complex regulatory environment, supporting them in every step from analysis and advice to implementation and outsourcing. For more information, visit www.fcg.global

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About Bridgepoint

Bridgepoint is a leading quoted private assets growth investor focused on the middle-market with over €30 billion AUM and a local presence in the US, Europe and China. Bridgepoint specialises in private equity and private credit and invest internationally in six principal sectors – business services, consumer, financial services, healthcare, advanced industrials and technology. For more information, visit www.bridgepoint.eu

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About IK Partners

IK is a European private equity firm focused on investments in the Benelux, DACH, France, Nordics and the UK. Since 1989, IK has raised more than €14 billion of capital and invested in over 160 European companies. IK supports companies with strong underlying potential, partnering with management teams and investors to create robust, well-positioned businesses with excellent long-term prospects. For more information, visit www.ikpartners.com

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Record-breaking fundraising of €486 million for Qonto, to further accelerate European growth and become the finance solution for 1 million SMEs and freelancers by 2025

KKR

January 11, 2022

Paris, January 11 2022 – Qonto, the leading European business finance solution, announced today it has raised €486 million in Series D funding, bringing Qonto’s valuation to €4.4 billion. With this fundraising – one of the largest ever in French history – Qonto sets a new record valuation for a French scale-up. This latest round is jointly led by new investors Tiger Global and TCV, in addition to eight other new contributors: Alkeon, Eurazeo, KKR, Insight Partners, Exor Seeds, Guillaume Pousaz, Gaingels and Ashley Flucas. They will join current investors Valar, Alven, DST Global and Tencent who are all renewing their support by participating in this new funding round.
Since its launch in France in 2017, Qonto has been committed to building the first all-in-one finance solution for SMEs and freelancers. Qonto simplifies everything from everyday banking and financing to bookkeeping and spend management, allowing its customers to focus on what truly matters. The company currently has more than 220,000 clients across four markets (France, Germany, Italy, and Spain). With this new funding round, Qonto’s ambition is to become the finance solution of choice for 1 million European SMEs and freelancers by 2025.
To support its high-level goals, Qonto will:
Continue expanding its product offer through in-house development, new strategic partnerships and potential acquisitions to ensure it offers its clients the best product available on the market;
Further grow its market penetration across Germany, Italy and Spain and new markets. In 2021, the company opened local offices in Barcelona, Berlin and Milan to fully tailor its offer to each market and lay down roots in those local ecosystems to foster closer partnership. Qonto is expanding particularly rapidly across these markets: the company has quadrupled its revenue over the past two years. Qonto will further accelerate its strong momentum across Europe by investing over €100 million in each market (Germany, Italy and Spain) over the next two years. Qonto also plans to reinforce its European leadership by launching in new markets by 2023. In 2025, it is expected that 75% of new clients will come from outside France.
Recruit new talent and quadruple its team to more than 2,000 by 2025, 50% of new hires to be based outside of France. In part, this will be achieved thanks to the creation of a new Customer Support Operations Hub, to be based in Barcelona and designed to maintain its outstanding customer support while further scaling. To reinforce its international recruitment strategy and meet the expectations of an increasingly agile and mobile talent pool, the company will also launch a European “Qonto Campus” program to enable international mobility between the local offices.
Alexandre Prot, co-founder and CEO of Qonto: “Since our launch in 2017, we’ve constantly strived to create the finance solution that energizes SMEs and freelancers, empowering them to achieve more. This new Series D funding round is an amazing opportunity for us to accelerate our hyper-growth trajectory by investing in our product, our customer service and our power to attract new talents. This funding round reveals the incredible dynamism of the French and European Tech ecosystem. We count on policymakers
to continue their efforts to ensure entrepreneurship can succeed, leading to European and global champions that deliver innovation. This is only the beginning of our journey to best serve SMEs and freelancers and we couldn’t be more excited about what the future holds for us and our ambitions. The Qonto team is honored to welcome the most prestigious international investors to support our mission to become the leading business finance solution.”
John Curtius, Partner at Tiger Global: “Qonto has revolutionized business finance for SMEs and freelancers by marrying simplicity with a unique all-in-one service. The company has seen a significant increase in clients across its European markets during the coronavirus pandemic. This also shows that customers’ needs are evolving during these unprecedented times. We have tracked Qonto’s incredible growth for some time and are delighted to partner with the entire Qonto team and support their mission to serve a rapidly growing European market.”
“We at TCV love to back visionary founders and could not be more excited to partner with Alexander, Steve and the rest of the Qonto team, said John Doran, General Partner at TCV. “We look forward to supporting them as they continue to bring best-in-class banking and finance solutions to millions of SMEs and freelancers across Europe.”

PayFit Raises €254M to Continue Transforming HR Technology

General Atlantic

Now valued at €1.82B, the startup aims to strengthen its position in its current markets

PayFit, a leading payroll and HR management solution for SMEs, today announced that it has raised €254M in a Series E funding round, a record-breaking amount for a French human resources (HR) startup. General Atlantic, a leading global growth equity firm, led the round, with participation from existing investors Eurazeo, Bpifrance and Accel Ventures. PayFit plans to use the funds to recruit additional top talent, accelerate the development of innovative new products, and increase its market share across Europe.

PayFit’s mission is to simplify payroll and HR management, which has become even more important in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the many complexities it has introduced for companies in managing human capital. The company provides a leading next-gen payroll solution that automates complex and time-intensive HR processes, particularly for the underserved small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) and micro-SME segment. PayFit’s proprietary technology platform enables HR managers to easily conduct payroll calculations in markets with complex regulatory requirements, a key differentiator amidst the fast-growing market for HR technology.

Since its founding in 2015, PayFit has gained over 6,000 clients, and has raised €179M to date, prior to this funding round. Its €90M Series D funding round, which closed in March, supported the company in the continued innovation of its current product suite and hiring of 300 new employees, reinforcing its leadership in the European HR tech sector. Based in France, PayFit has successfully expanded into three additional major European markets – Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom – and plans to scale from more than 700 current employees to over 1,000 within the next 12 months. The expansion of the PayFit team has included key senior leadership hires across critical business functions spanning technology, finance, operations, and more.

PayFit will leverage the proceeds from its Series E round to deepen its penetration in existing markets, invest in its core automated payroll software offering, and continue to expand its SME-tailored solution across HR management by complementing leaves/absences and expenses with interview assessment functionality, among other features to be launched in 2022.

Firmin Zocchetto, CEO and cofounder of PayFit explained: “PayFit’s expansion beyond France into the UK, Spain and Germany demonstrated further validation of our innovative offering and our capacity to scale up. As we look ahead, we plan to use these new funds to deepen our presence in our existing markets, where we have significant growth potential. At PayFit, we are proud to have built a company with strong foundations, where people are happy to work and that can have a real impact on our clients. This Series E funding will allow us to maintain the rapid growth we have achieved since our founding.”

Chris Caulkin, Managing Director and Head of Technology for EMEA at General Atlantic, commented: “PayFit has built an innovative and disruptive product supporting the payroll and HR management needs of SMBs across Europe. We see great opportunities ahead for the company as it extends its product offering and continues to capture market share in France and across Europe. We are delighted to support PayFit and its management team in this next chapter of growth.”

PayFit marks General Atlantic’s seventh investment in France’s technology ecosystem over the last five years, a region in which the firm has strong conviction.

About Payfit

Launched in 2015 by Firmin Zocchetto, Ghislain de Fontenay and Florian Fournier, PayFit

revolutionizes and simplifies payroll and HR processes for companies. Fast, intuitive and automated, PayFit allows employers to easily and independently manage payroll and human resources, saving them valuable time and allowing employees to access a dedicated online space. The company’s ambition is to support the digital transformation of human resources in companies through a 100% reliable SaaS solution that provides a unique experience for its users.

More info: payfit.com

About General Atlantic

General Atlantic is a leading global growth equity firm with more than four decades of experience providing capital and strategic support for over 445 growth companies throughout its history. Established in 1980 to partner with visionary entrepreneurs and deliver lasting impact, the firm combines a collaborative global approach, sector specific expertise, a long-term investment horizon and a deep understanding of growth drivers to partner with great entrepreneurs and management teams to scale innovative businesses around the world. General Atlantic currently has over $86 billion in assets under management inclusive of all products as of September 30, 2021, and more than 215 investment professionals based in New York, Amsterdam, Beijing, Hong Kong, Jakarta, London, Mexico City, Mumbai, Munich, Palo Alto, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore and Stamford.

More info: generalatlantic.com

About Eurazeo

Eurazeo is a leading global investment group, with a diversified portfolio of €21.8 billion in Assets Under Management, including €15.0 billion from third parties, invested in over 450 companies. With its considerable private equity, real estate and private debt expertise, Eurazeo accompanies companies of all sizes, supporting their development through the commitment of its nearly 300 professionals and by offering deep sector expertise, a gateway to global markets, and a responsible and stable foothold for transformational growth. Its solid institutional and family shareholder base, robust financial structure free of structural debt, and flexible investment horizon enable Eurazeo to support its companies over the long term. Eurazeo has offices in Paris, New York, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, London, Luxembourg, Frankfurt, Berlin and Madrid.

More info: eurazeo.com

About Bpifrance and Large Venture

Bpifrance’s equity investments are carried out by Bpifrance Investissement. Bpifrance finances

companies – at every stage of their development – in credit, collateral and equity. Bpifrance supports them in their innovation projects and internationally. Bpifrance also ensures their export activity through a wide range of products. Consulting, university, networking and acceleration programs for start-ups, SMEs and ETIs are also part of the offer proposed to entrepreneurs. Thanks to Bpifrance and its 49 regional offices, entrepreneurs benefit from a close, unique and efficient contact to help them face their challenges.

With €1.75 billion, Large Venture is Bpifrance’s venture growth fund dedicated to high-potential

technology companies, with the aim of fostering the emergence of French champions, future world leaders in their markets. Large Venture is active in governance and has a long-term vision. It is always in a co-investment approach with a lead or follower positioning. Large Venture participates in fundraising projects of more than €20m with a minimum initial investment of €10m. The fund has already invested in more than 55 companies since its creation in 2013.

More info: bpifrance.fr

About Accel partners

Accel is a global venture capital firm that is the first partner to exceptional teams everywhere,

from inception through all phases of private company growth. Arista, Atlassian, Braintree, Celonis, CrowdStrike, Deliveroo, DJI, Dropbox, Etsy, Facebook, Flipkart, Freshworks, Jet, Kayak, Lynda.com, Qualtrics, Rovio, Rows, Slack, Spotify, Supercell, Swiggy, Tenable, UiPath, Venmo and Webflow are among the companies the firm has backed over the past 35+ years. We help ambitious entrepreneurs build iconic global businesses.

More info: accel.com

Media Contacts

Emily Japlon & Casey Gunkel
General Atlantic media@generalatlantic.com

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Athene to Acquire Petros PACE Finance, a Leading Provider of Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) Financing

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Apollo Global
Investment to Expand National, Direct Origination Platform, Meet Growing Investor Demand for ESG Assets

NEW YORK and HAMILTON, Bermuda, Dec. 20, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Athene Holding Ltd. (NYSE: ATH) (“Athene”), an industry-leading financial services company focused on retirement savings solutions, today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Petros PACE Finance, LLC (“Petros PACE Finance” or the “Company”), a leading provider of Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (“C-PACE”) financing to owners and developers of commercial properties throughout the United States.

Since 2016, Petros PACE Finance has originated over $700 million in long-term, fixed-rate financing for energy efficiency, water efficiency, renewable energy and resiliency projects. C-PACE financing is active in 27 states and the District of Columbia and is secured by a special property tax assessment that provides a more affordable financing alternative to mezzanine debt and equity across a variety of commercial properties, including office, hospitality and retail. In June 2021, Petros closed the largest-ever single C-PACE transaction and the first in New York City of $89 million, opening what is estimated to be the largest C-PACE market in the country and helping institutional sponsors fund commercial properties’ carbon reduction plans.

The investment in Petros PACE Finance will be managed by the team at Apollo (NYSE: APO), Athene’s strategic asset management partner, and together Apollo and Athene expect that the Company will accelerate its rapid growth in C-PACE financing driven by new market expansion, sustainable construction and regulatory climate mandates. Following completion of the transaction, Petros co-Founders Mansoor Ghori and Jim Stanislaus will continue to lead the Company and retain a minority interest along with other members of management.

“This transaction is a compelling opportunity to partner with the Company and its best-in-class team at the center of the ESG movement in commercial real estate, while building on our longstanding strategy of investing in businesses that add direct origination sourcing capabilities to our alpha-generating investment portfolio,” said Jim Belardi, Chairman and CEO of Athene. “Climate concerns, tenant demand and legislative mandates are driving developers to look for new opportunities to make properties more energy efficient, and Petros PACE Finance is the industry leader providing flexible funding solutions to meet those needs. The Company’s successful track record and range of capabilities – from refinancings to originating new loans – are a clear advantage in a massive and rapidly growing market, and we are eager to support the platform. We look forward to working together as a funding partner to provide environmentally focused financing solutions to an even broader segment of the real estate industry.”

Mansoor Ghori, Co-Founder and CEO, and Jim Stanislaus, Co-Founder and CFO, of Petros PACE Finance, added, “Partnering with Athene and Apollo opens up many exciting possibilities for our team to rapidly scale our C-PACE business and accelerate growth of the Company. The vast resources and expertise of our new partners will provide crucial support and new opportunities to leverage our best-in-class direct origination capabilities to go deeper into the capital stack and provide more comprehensive solutions for our clients, while shaping the future of the C-PACE industry. This will be a significant advantage as we further expand into major metropolitan areas like New York City, Chicago and New Jersey.”

“Under Mansoor and Jim’s leadership, Petros Pace Finance has delivered strong risk-adjusted returns, driven by a world-class origination team and secured by the robust credit ratings of the underlying C-PACE assets,” said Apollo Co-President Jim Zelter. “For Apollo and Athene, Petros PACE Finance is highly complementary to our portfolio of diversified origination platforms and positioned for significant growth as more property owners seek financing for clean energy projects.”

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2022.

CIBC Capital Markets is serving as financial advisor to Athene, and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and Sidley Austin LLP are serving as legal advisors to Athene. Barclays is serving as financial advisor to Petros, and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Winston & Strawn LLP are serving as legal advisors to Petros.

About Apollo

Apollo is a high-growth, global alternative asset manager. We seek to provide our clients excess return at every point along the risk-reward spectrum from investment grade to private equity with a focus on three business strategies: yield, hybrid and equity. Through our investment activity across our fully integrated platform, we serve the retirement income and financial return needs of our clients, and we offer innovative capital solutions to businesses. Our patient, creative, knowledgeable approach to investing aligns our clients, businesses we invest in, our employees and the communities we impact, to expand opportunity and achieve positive outcomes. As of September 30, 2021, Apollo had approximately $481 billion of assets under management. To learn more, please visit www.apollo.com.

About Athene

Athene, through its subsidiaries, is a leading retirement services company with total assets of $224.4 billion as of September 30, 2021 and operations in the United States, Bermuda, and Canada. Athene specializes in helping its customers achieve financial security and is a solutions provider to institutions. Founded in 2009, Athene is Driven to Do More for our policyholders, business partners, shareholders, and the communities in which we work and live. For more information, please visit www.athene.com.

About Petros

Petros PACE Finance, LLC is the national leader in the C-PACE marketplace, dedicated solely to providing long-term C-PACE financing to commercial property owners seeking to lower energy costs, reduce their carbon footprint and increase property values and meet environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals. Its leadership team has decades of executive-level experience in private credit and structured finance, with direct long-term institutional investor relationships. With billions in committed capital, Petros is able to close transactions in eligible C-PACE markets nationwide. To learn more about Petros PACE Finance visit our website at www.petros-pace.com.

Safe Harbor for Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains, and certain oral statements made by Athene’s representatives from time to time may contain, forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, events and developments to differ materially from those set forth in, or implied by, such statements. These statements are based on the beliefs and assumptions of Athene’s management and the management of Athene’s subsidiaries. Generally, forward-looking statements include actions, events, results, strategies and expectations and are often identifiable by use of the words “believes,” “expects,” “intends,” “anticipates,” “plans,” “seeks,” “estimates,” “projects,” “may,” “will,” “could,” “might,” “should,” or “continues” or similar expressions. Forward-looking statements within this press release include, but are not limited to, statements regarding future growth prospects and financial performance. Factors that could cause actual results, events and developments to differ include, without limitation: the accuracy of Athene’s assumptions and estimates; Athene’s ability to maintain or improve financial strength ratings; Athene’s ability to manage its business in a highly regulated industry; regulatory changes or actions; the impact of Athene’s reinsurers failing to meet their assumed obligations; the impact of interest rate fluctuations; changes in the federal income tax laws and regulations; the accuracy of Athene’s interpretation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act; litigation (including class action litigation), enforcement investigations or regulatory scrutiny; the performance of third parties; the loss of key personnel; telecommunication, information technology and other operational systems failures; the continued availability of capital; new accounting rules or changes to existing accounting rules; general economic conditions; Athene’s ability to protect its intellectual property; the ability to maintain or obtain approval of the Delaware Department of Insurance, the Iowa Insurance Division and other regulatory authorities as required for Athene’s operations; the delay or failure to complete or realize the expected benefits from the proposed merger with Apollo Global Management; and other factors discussed from time to time in Athene’s filings with the SEC, including its annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020, its quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarterly period ended September 30, 2021 and its other SEC filings, which can be found at the SEC’s website www.sec.gov.

All forward-looking statements described herein are qualified by these cautionary statements and there can be no assurance that the actual results, events or developments referenced herein will occur or be realized. Athene does not undertake any obligation to update or revise forward-looking statements to reflect changed assumptions, the occurrence of unanticipated events or changes to future operating results.

Athene Contacts:

Media Investors
Kelly Woerdehoff Alex Pelzar
AVP, Corporate Communications Investor Relations Director
(515) 342-5144 (646) 768-7316
kwoerdehoff@athene.com apelzar@athene.com

Apollo Contacts:

Media Investors
Joanna Rose Noah Gunn
Global Head of Corporate Communications Global Head of Investor Relations
(212) 822-0491 (212) 822-0540
Communications@apollo.com IR@apollo.com


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Source: Apollo Global Management, Inc.; Athene Holding Ltd.

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Athene and Apollo to Acquire Majority Stake in Fast-Growing Consumer Lending Platform Aqua Finance at Valuation of Approximately $1 Billion

Apollo Global

Blackstone to Maintain Minority Investment in Aqua Finance

Specialist Platform on Track to Originate $2 Billion of Loans in 2021

NEW YORK, Nov. 29, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Athene (NYSE: ATH) and Apollo (NYSE: APO) today announced that Athene has agreed to acquire a controlling stake in Aqua Finance (“Aqua” or the “Company”), a fast-growing consumer lending platform, from funds managed by Blackstone Tactical Opportunities (“Blackstone”) at a valuation of approximately $1 billion. Under the terms of the transaction, Apollo will manage the investment on behalf of Athene. Blackstone would also maintain a minority stake in the Company.

Aqua Finance is a Wisconsin-based specialist lending platform that originates and services consumer loans, primarily for home improvement and water treatment. The Company has strong and growing merchant relationships formed over 30 years and has nearly doubled its annual loan originations since Blackstone first invested in 2018, with originations expected to reach $2 billion in 2021.

“Aqua Finance is an exciting opportunity for Athene to invest in a leading consumer finance platform, to provide capital and expertise to continue to grow the business, and to execute on our strategy with Apollo to invest in high-quality origination platforms,” said Jim Belardi, Chief Executive Officer of Athene.

“We are excited to partner with this new investor group as we enter the next stage of expansion for Aqua. I am proud of the significant progress we have made in establishing Aqua as an industry leader together with Blackstone and look forward to building on that strong foundation in the years ahead,” said Rich Morrin, Aqua’s Chief Executive Officer.

“For more than three decades, Aqua has partnered with merchants to provide flexible consumer lending solutions, and with Athene we look forward to investing in the business and supporting the Aqua team to build on this success,” said Apollo Co-President Jim Zelter. “For Apollo and Athene, Aqua is highly complementary to our portfolio of diversified origination platforms, extending our access to quality consumer loan flow.”

Menes Chee, a Senior Managing Director at Blackstone, and C. C. Melvin Ike, a Principal at Blackstone, said, “We are pleased to have backed Aqua, Rich, and his management team as they built a strong financial technology platform serving customers across the country. We look forward to continuing to support the business and its next phase of growth.”

Aqua Finance has a long history of partnering with merchants across the home improvement and recreational ecosystem to provide dependable and flexible financing solutions to their customers. Through this transaction, the new investor group expects to invest in new technology and innovation to further enhance the merchant customer experience and drive expansion of the network with new and existing partners.

The addition of Aqua Finance will increase Apollo’s current $80 billion annual run-rate of asset origination across its platforms, which span commercial and consumer lending. Apollo’s portfolio of proprietary origination platforms help the firm to originate high-quality, recurring assets for its investors, including Athene.

The transaction is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including certain regulatory approvals, and is expected to close in the first half of 2022. Lazard and Goldman Sachs are serving as financial advisors and Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP as legal counsel to Blackstone and Aqua Finance. Sidley Austin LLP is serving as legal counsel to Apollo.

About Apollo
Apollo is a high-growth, global alternative asset manager. We seek to provide our clients excess return at every point along the risk-reward spectrum from investment grade to private equity with a focus on three business strategies: yield, hybrid and equity. Through our investment activity across our fully integrated platform, we serve the retirement income and financial return needs of our clients, and we offer innovative capital solutions to businesses. Our patient, creative, knowledgeable approach to investing aligns our clients, businesses we invest in, our employees and the communities we impact, to expand opportunity and achieve positive outcomes. As of September 30, 2021, Apollo had approximately $481 billion of assets under management. To learn more, please visit www.apollo.com.

About Athene
Athene, through its subsidiaries, is a leading retirement services company with total assets of $224.4 billion as of September 30, 2021 and operations in the United States, Bermuda, and Canada. Athene specializes in helping its customers achieve financial security and is a solutions provider to institutions. Founded in 2009, Athene is Driven to Do More for our policyholders, business partners, shareholders, and the communities in which we work and live. For more information, please visit www.athene.com.

About Blackstone
Blackstone is the world’s largest alternative investment firm. We seek to create positive economic impact and long-term value for our investors, the companies we invest in, and the communities in which we work. We do this by using extraordinary people and flexible capital to help companies solve problems. Our $731 billion in assets under management include investment vehicles focused on private equity, real estate, public debt and equity, life sciences, growth equity, opportunistic, non-investment grade credit, real assets and secondary funds, all on a global basis. Further information is available at www.blackstone.com. Follow Blackstone on Twitter @Blackstone.

Athene Safe Harbor for Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains, and certain oral statements made by Athene’s representatives from time to time may contain, forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, events and developments to differ materially from those set forth in, or implied by, such statements. These statements are based on the beliefs and assumptions of Athene’s management and the management of Athene’s subsidiaries. Generally, forward-looking statements include actions, events, results, strategies and expectations and are often identifiable by use of the words “believes,” “expects,” “intends,” “anticipates,” “plans,” “seeks,” “estimates,” “projects,” “may,” “will,” “could,” “might,” “should,” or “continues” or similar expressions. Forward-looking statements within this press release include, but are not limited to, statements regarding future growth prospects and financial performance. Factors that could cause actual results, events and developments to differ include, without limitation: the accuracy of Athene’s assumptions and estimates; Athene’s ability to maintain or improve financial strength ratings; Athene’s ability to manage its business in a highly regulated industry; regulatory changes or actions; the impact of Athene’s reinsurers failing to meet their assumed obligations; the impact of interest rate fluctuations; changes in the federal income tax laws and regulations; the accuracy of Athene’s interpretation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act; litigation (including class action litigation), enforcement investigations or regulatory scrutiny; the performance of third parties; the loss of key personnel; telecommunication, information technology and other operational systems failures; the continued availability of capital; new accounting rules or changes to existing accounting rules; general economic conditions; Athene’s ability to protect its intellectual property; the ability to maintain or obtain approval of the Delaware Department of Insurance, the Iowa Insurance Division and other regulatory authorities as required for Athene’s operations; the delay or failure to complete or realize the expected benefits from the proposed merger with Apollo Global Management; and other factors discussed from time to time in Athene’s filings with the SEC, including its annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020, its quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarterly period ended September 30, 2021, and its other SEC filings, which can be found at the SEC’s website www.sec.gov.

All forward-looking statements described herein are qualified by these cautionary statements and there can be no assurance that the actual results, events or developments referenced herein will occur or be realized. Athene does not undertake any obligation to update or revise forward-looking statements to reflect changed assumptions, the occurrence of unanticipated events or changes to future operating results.

Contacts

For Apollo:
Investors:
Noah Gunn
Global Head of Investor Relations
(212) 822-0540
IR@apollo.com

Media:
Joanna Rose
Global Head of Corporate Communications
(212) 822-0491
Communications@apollo.com

For Athene:
Investors:
Alex Pelzar
+1 646 768 7316
apelzar@athene.com

Media:
Marcia Kent
+1 515 342 3918
mkent@athene.com

For Blackstone:
Matt Anderson
Matthew.Anderson@blackstone.com
518-248-7310

 


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Source: Apollo Global Management, Inc.

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