EQT Private Equity Asia acquires Guardian, China’s largest domestic pest control operator

eqt
  • EQT Private Equity Asia makes majority investment in Guardian, China’s largest domestic pest control operator, with a strong presence in the country’s eastern and southern provinces
  • Guardian’s underlying market is supported by favorable demographic trends, such as increasing urbanization, a growing middle class, and a shift towards more healthy and environmentally friendly lifestyles, while from an ESG perspective, Guardian continues to improve living conditions in cities through efficient pest control
  • EQT will support Guardian’s next phase of growth by driving consolidation in China’s highly fragmented pest control market while leveraging EQT’s inhouse digitalization and sustainability capabilities, route-based sector expertise, and global advisory network

EQT is pleased to announce that the EQT Mid Market Asia III fund (“EQT Private Equity”) has made a majority investment in Guardian Shanghai Hygiene Service Ltd. (“Guardian” or the “Company”). Guardian’s founders, Chuck Jiang, Charlie Peng and Steven Gan will retain a minority stake in the Company and remain in the management team.

Guardian was founded in Shanghai in 2011 by Chuck Jiang, former General Manager of global pest control company, Rentokil, in China. It has grown from a regional player to a leading national player today, having completed 14 bolt-ons historically. Today, Guardian holds a strong position in high-end commercials verticals, including restaurant chains, supermarkets, shopping malls, airports, hotels and food production facilities.

Guardian’s underlying market is supported by favourable demographic trends, including an increasing urbanization pace, a growing middle class, and new regulatory directives, such as “Healthy China 2030”, a nation-wide policy reform that sets out to encourage more healthy and environmentally friendly lifestyles.

From an ESG perspective, Guardian continues to improve living conditions in cities through efficient pest control. EQT will further support Guardian’s digital innovation of pest control products and services, which is key to decreasing negative environmental and human impacts. By investing in and rolling out digital solutions such as digital rodent traps, Guardian could lower chemical usage and reduce the number of manual site visits.

EQT will support Guardian in its next phase of growth through improvements in its digital backbone, including investments in innovation and technology, online marketing strategy and digital service offerings. Guardian will also benefit from EQT’s sub-sector expertise within route-based services and planning, as well as merger and acquisition capabilities.

Jerry He, Partner within EQT Private Equity’s Advisory Team and Head of China, said, “EQT Private Equity is excited to invest in Guardian at this critical stage of growth. We are impressed by Guardian’s development in the last decade and see abundant opportunities to apply our industry network, sector expertise and digital skillsets to support its ambitious vision and expansion plans. Moreover, China’s fragmented pest control market allows for attractive opportunities for organic and acquisitive growth. We look forward to partnering with Chuck and his management team to future proof the company and reach its full potential.”

Chuck Jiang, Founder and CEO of Guardian, said, “Over the past decade, the entire Guardian team has dedicated itself to building the Company from the ground up, from a regional player to now a leading national player. We are excited to partner with EQT, one of the world’s largest and most reputable private equity firms, to further accelerate our growth and expand our footprint. EQT’s experience and expertise in the pest control space are highly valuable, and will support Guardian in realizing new opportunities and provide better and innovative solutions for our customers.”

The transaction was closed on 17 March 2022.

Contact
APAC media inquiries:
Mavis Ma, Communications Manager, mavis.ma@eqtpartners.com, +852 9280 9663

International media inquiries: EQT Press Office, press@eqtpartners.com, +46 8 506 55 334

About EQT
EQT is a purpose-driven global investment organization with EUR 73.4 billion in assets under management across 28 active funds. EQT funds have portfolio companies in Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Americas with total sales of approximately EUR 29 billion and more than 175,000 employees. EQT works with portfolio companies to achieve sustainable growth, operational excellence and market leadership.

More info: www.eqtgroup.com
Follow EQT on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram

About Guardian
Founded in 2011, Guardian is the largest local Chinese pest control operator, with a strong presence in Eastern and Southern China. During the past 10 years, it has grown from a regional player to a leading national player today, having completed 14 bolt-ons historically. Guardian has a strong position in high-end commercials verticals, including MNC chain restaurants, retail and public (airport) verticals. Guardian strives to offer comprehensive environmental sanitary solutions and be a long-term business partner to its clients.

More info: www.guardian-hygiene.com

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Baird Capital Exits Portfolio Company Nigel Wright Group

Baird Capital
Baird Capital’s Private Equity team recently announced that portfolio company Nigel Wright Group has refinanced the business and purchased all outstanding equity from their two institutional shareholders (Baird Capital and Beechbrook Capital). This move completes the full exit for Baird Capital following the MBO initiated in October 2020.Nigel Wright has operated for over 30 years from its headquarters in Newcastle upon Tyne where it remains the leading and largest specialist recruitment firm in the North of England. It has expanded across Europe to become Europe’s number one consumer sector search specialist. Baird Capital initially invested in Nigel Wright in 2010.

“It was a pleasure to partner with Nigel Wright over the last 10 years, and we wish Paul Wilson and his talented team of executive directors great success,” said Dennis Hall, Partner and Head of Portfolio Management with Baird Capital. “This exit marks a new chapter for the firm, and we look forward to seeing what they do next.”

Learn more here.

Baird Capital Partners Europe Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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Bridgepoint sells Element Materials Technology

Bridgepoint

25th January 2022 – Element Materials Technology Group (Element or the Group), a global leader in testing, inspection, and certification (TIC) services, has been acquired by Temasek from Bridgepoint. Temasek, a global investor headquartered in Singapore, has been a minority shareholder in Element since 2019. The Group generates annual revenues of c.$1 billion and has grown at over 20% a year over the last ten years. The transaction value has not been disclosed and the transaction remains subject to customary regulatory approvals.

Operating in technically demanding and highly regulated sectors, Element is well positioned to further accelerate its growth as it builds stronger positions in end-markets, such as life sciences and connected technologies. The Group also benefits from strong global ESG tailwinds – with over 60% of its work already directly supporting customers on their sustainability journeys, it will continue to strengthen its position across the global TIC industry.

Element can trace its origins back 190 years, and now operates a global network of more than 200 laboratories across 30 countries, servicing thousands of customers in life sciences, connected technologies, aerospace, transportation, energy transition, built environment, and beyond. Element works with customers across a wide spectrum – from testing the next generation of aircraft and autonomous vehicles, to vaccine component testing in its US pharmaceutical laboratories; from the certification of smartphones and wearable technologies, to providing cellular carrier approvals and testing connected robots.

Headquartered in London, UK, Element’s team of over 7,000 scientists, engineers, and technologists support customers from early R&D, through complex regulatory approvals and into production, ensuring their products are safe and sustainable.

Element recently achieved the best ESG rating of any major TIC company globally, placing in the top 1.5% of all companies rated for ESG by Sustainalytics. Element’s 10.5 corporate ESG rating reflects its industry-leading ESG systems, management, and commitments, which include setting science-based climate targets and achieving net zero emissions across its entire business by 2035.

Allan Leighton, Non-Executive Chairman of Element, said: ‘Element has a highly talented management team and exceptional people across our offices and laboratories around the world. This transaction is a testament to their skills and commitment and creates the launchpad for the next exciting horizon of growth for the company.’

Jo Wetz, CEO of Element, said: ‘The acquisition of Element by Temasek is a landmark transaction in the TIC sector, and a critical step in the development of the Group. We have grown from 20 locations and 600 colleagues ten years ago, to over 7,000 talented experts operating across 200 locations, and are ambitious to continue our rapid growth in the sector.

Bridgepoint has been an exceptional partner, helping to support a ten-fold increase in our turnover over the past decade. We are delighted to expand our relationship with Temasek – their intimate understanding of the Group and their track record of enabling businesses with sustainability at their core will help to accelerate the growth of our business in the years ahead.’

“I am extremely proud of what Element and its outstanding team have delivered. The business has been bold in its ambition, delivered impressive organic growth, and has been clinical in its acquisition strategy – allowing it to significantly expand its expertise for over 50,000 customers worldwide. It is now an undisputed heavyweight in Testing, Inspection and Certification, and we wish the team of 7,000 people continued success in the future’, said Chris Busby, partner at Bridgepoint.

Uwe Krueger, Temasek’s Head Industrials, Business Services, Energy & Resources; and Head, Europe, Middle East & Africa said: ‘We are pleased to continue our relationship with Element as it works with its customers and explores greater opportunities to be part of their decarbonisation and sustainability journeys. As a leading TIC business, Element is at the forefront of enabling innovative solutions across various industries.’

Element was advised by Bank of America Securities, Goldman Sachs and Rothschild & Co (M&A), A&O (legal), EY (finance and tax), BCG (commercial), DLA, Jamieson and PwC (management advisors).

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Waystone completes investment from Montagu and announces new strategic investment from Hg

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HG Capital

Montagu and Hg will become co-controlling investors, supporting Waystone to further scale its global platform for fund governance solutions

Dublin, Republic of Ireland and London, United Kingdom 24 January 2022, Waystone Group, a leading provider of institutional governance, risk, and compliance services to the asset management industry, today announce that Montagu, a leading private equity firm, has completed its investment in Waystone, and Hg, a leading global software and services investor, will join as a strategic investor and joint shareholder. Montagu first announced its investment in Waystone in July 2021. Hg’s investment is subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions

Founded in 2000 and based in Dublin, Waystone serves clients with assets under management totalling more than US$1 trillion, delivering the tools and expertise to manage their governance and regulatory requirements, enabling them to focus on their core business. It has achieved global scale through a series of carefully planned acquisitions, and today provides an extensive range of services and solutions across multiple international jurisdictions.

Montagu and Hg will partner with the company’s strong management team, led by CEO Derek Delaney, to continue to grow and complement Waystone’s existing service offering while supporting further geographic and product expansion through targeted acquisitions.

Hg will join Montagu and the management team as key shareholders. This will support our growth as an institutional, global service provider, paving the way for further expansion in 2022.”

Derek Delaney, Global CEO at Waystone

“As a long-established investor in the space, we recognise the growth opportunity for fund services, and specifically a third-party management company with Waystone’s global reach and competitive strength. We look forward to working with Waystone’s strong management team to meet the future needs of its clients.”

Tobias Weltin, Director at Montagu

“We’re impressed with what Derek and his team have achieved over the last decade. Hg knows the sector well, having invested around $4.5 billion into legal & compliance and the capital markets segments to date. This experience means that we know quality when we see it, and Waystone stands out as a leading platform for consolidation in this sector.”

Thorsten Toepfer, Partner at Hg

“We recognise Waystone as a leading platform in fund governance, with a differentiated profile and potential to scale further. We look forward to what we can achieve together with Montagu, Derek and the team.”

Justin Von Simson, Managing Partner at Hg

ENDS


Note to Editors

About Waystone
Waystone is a leading provider of institutional governance, risk, and compliance services to the asset management industry. Partnering institutional investors, investment funds and asset managers Waystone builds, supports, and protects investment structures and strategies worldwide. With over 20 years’ experience and a comprehensive range of specialist services to its name, Waystone is now supporting asset managers with more than US$1Tn in AUM. Waystone provides its clients with the guidance and tools to allow them to focus on managing their investment goals with confidence.

For additional information on Waystone, visit www.waystone.com

Waystone Media Contact
Alison Mitsas
amitsas@waystone.com


About Montagu
Montagu is a leading mid-market private equity firm, committed to finding and growing businesses that make the world work. With deep experience in healthcare and the tech-enablement of essential businesses, Montagu brings proven growth capabilities to help companies achieve their ambitions and unlock the full potential of their business.  Montagu is committed to the mid-market, with a specialism in carve-out transactions and other first-time buyout investments. ESG forms an integral part of its strategy, and its commitment to sustainable investment is fully integrated into its investment and value-creation process. Montagu partners with businesses between €200 million and €1 billion and has €10bn assets under management.

For additional information on Montagu, visit www.montagu.com

Montagu Media Contacts
Rob White and Mikaela Murekian (Greenbrook)
+44 20 7952 2000
montagu@greenbrookpr.com


About Hg
Hg is a growth platform for software and services champions, focused on backing businesses that change how we all do business. Deep technology expertise, complemented by vertical application specialisation and dedicated operational support, provides a compelling proposition to management teams looking to scale their businesses. Hg has funds under management of around $40 billion, with an investment team of over 140 professionals, plus a portfolio team of around 40 operators, providing practical support to help our businesses to realise their growth ambitions. Based in London, Munich and New York, Hg has a portfolio of over 40 software and technology businesses, worth around $92 billion aggregate enterprise value, with over 55,000 employees globally, growing at over 20% per year.

Visit www.hgcapital.com for more information.

Hg Media Contacts
Tom Eckersley
tom.eckersley@hgcapital.com
+44 208 148 5401

Azadeh Varzi and Samantha Chiene (Brunswick)
hg@brunswickgroup.com
+44 207 404 5959

Bridgepoint exits FCG

Bridgepoint

FCG Group AB is pleased to announce a partnership with IK Partners, with the target to become a leading GRC provider in the European market. IK acquires its stake in FCG from Bridgepoint Group plc, becoming the new majority owner.

IK Partners (“IK”), a European private equity firm, announced today that IK Small Cap III Fund has signed an agreement to acquire FCG Group AB (“FCG”), from international private equity group Bridgepoint Group plc (“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 governance, risk management and compliance (“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.

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 155 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.

Bridgepoint is world 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.

The transaction is subject to competition clearance and regulatory approvals.

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CAIS Announces $225 Million Financing Round Led by Apollo and Motive Partners, Exceeds $1 Billion Valuation

New Capital, Including Investment from Franklin Templeton, to Accelerate the Digitization of Alternative Investments Access, Education, and Execution

Executives of Apollo and Motive Partners Join Fintech Pioneer CAIS Board of Directors

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)– CAIS, the leading alternative investment platform, today announced a $225 million round of funding led by Apollo (NYSE: APO) and Motive Partners (“Motive”), with additional investment from Franklin Templeton (NYSE: BEN), which values CAIS at more than $1 billion. This new investment follows a previous investment by Eldridge and accelerates CAIS’s mission to modernize how financial advisors access alternative investments. Blythe Masters, Founding Partner of Motive, and Andrew Gosden, Managing Director in Financial Services & Strategy at Apollo, will join CAIS’s board of directors.

“We are honored to have Apollo, Motive, and Franklin Templeton as our new shareholders and partners,” said Matt Brown, Founder and CEO of CAIS. “This investment advances the critical role CAIS plays in revolutionizing how the alternative investment and wealth management communities engage, learn, and transact.”

Alternative assets are expected to make up to 24% of the global investable market by 2025, according to the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association, up from 12% in 2018. CAIS has doubled its headcount in the last year to meet demand, as transaction volume has increased by 65 percent year-over-year with the number of platform users increasing by 60 percent. Building on that momentum, CAIS will use the proceeds of this financing round to fuel further advancements in technology, enhance the customer experience, invest in the digitization of product operations and processes, and explore strategic opportunities.

“We are excited to invest in CAIS, one of the fintech leaders transforming alternative investment access for wealth management. At Apollo, we want more individuals to access alternative strategies and companies like CAIS help to bridge the gap between asset managers and advisors through their growing platform. We believe this latest funding round will support the Company’s continued growth and success,” said Marc Rowan, Co-Founder and CEO of Apollo.

“CAIS has built a unique marketplace for alternatives through a commitment to excellent service and education. This investment will turbo-charge the technology transformation of the business towards a modular, flexible cloud-based architecture, which will modernize the way investors gain access to this asset class, allowing managers, investors, and their advisors to focus less on process and more on value-added interactions,” said Blythe Masters, Founding Partner at Motive.

CAIS serves the independent wealth management community, which has been historically under-allocated to alternatives when compared with large national broker-dealers or institutional investors, whether due to complexity, higher minimums, and fees, need for education, or other barriers to entry. As the first truly open marketplace for alternative investments, where financial advisors and asset managers can engage and transact at scale, CAIS seeks to remove these barriers, enabling advisors to enhance outcomes for their investors and providing managers with centralized access to a highly fragmented wealth management community.

“We believe that individual investors should have access to the same alternative investment solutions as large institutions, and CAIS is doing just that through its innovative and user-friendly platform,” said Jenny Johnson, President and CEO of Franklin Templeton. “CAIS shares our goal of making it easier for advisors and individual investors to diversify into alternatives to meet their investment objectives.”

Financial Technology Partners served as financial advisor to CAIS on the transaction.

About CAIS
CAIS is the leading alternative investment platform for financial advisors who seek improved access to, and education about, alternative investment funds and products. CAIS provides financial advisors with a broad selection of alternative investment strategies, including hedge funds, private equity, private credit, real estate, digital assets, and structured notes, allowing them to capitalize on opportunities and/or withstand ever-changing markets. CAIS also provides an industry-leading learning system, CAIS IQ, to help advisors learn faster, remember longer, and improve client outcomes.

All funds listed on CAIS undergo Mercer’s independent due diligence and ongoing monitoring. Mercer diligence reports and fund ratings are available to advisors on the CAIS password-protected platform. CAIS streamlines the end-to-end transaction process through digital subscriptions and integrated reporting with Fidelity, Schwab, and Pershing, which make investing in alternatives simple.

Founded in 2009, CAIS, a fintech leader, is empowering over 4,400+ unique advisor firms/teams who oversee more than $2T+ in network assets. Since inception, CAIS has facilitated over $13.8B+ in transaction volume as the first truly open marketplace where financial advisors and asset managers engage and transact directly on a massive scale. CAIS has offices in New York, Los Angeles, Austin, and San Francisco.

Securities offered through CAIS Capital LLC, member FINRA, SIPC.

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 September 30, 2021, Apollo had approximately $481 billion of assets under management. To learn more, please visit www.apollo.com.

About Motive Partners
Motive Partners is a specialist private equity firm with offices in New York City and London, focusing on growth equity and buyout investments in software and information services companies based in North America and Europe and serving five primary subsectors: Banking & Payments, Capital Markets, Data & Analytics, Investment Management and Insurance. Motive Partners brings differentiated expertise, connectivity and capabilities to create long-term value in financial technology companies. More information on Motive Partners can be found at www.motivepartners.com.

About Franklin Templeton
Franklin Resources, Inc. (NYSE:BEN) is a global investment management organization with subsidiaries operating as Franklin Templeton and serving clients in over 165 countries. Franklin Templeton’s mission is to help clients achieve better outcomes through investment management expertise, wealth management and technology solutions. Through its specialist investment managers, the Company brings extensive capabilities in equity, fixed income, multi-asset solutions and alternatives. With offices in more than 30 countries and approximately 1,300 investment professionals, the California-based company has over 70 years of investment experience and over $1.5 trillion in assets under management as of November 30, 2021. For more information, please visit franklinresources.com.

Media

For CAIS:

Nadia Damouni

Pro-CAISPR@Prosek.com

For Apollo:

Joanna Rose, Global Head of Corporate Communications

Communications@apollo.com

Noah Gunn, Global Head of Investor Relations

IR@apollo.com

For Motive Partners:

Sam Tidswell-Norrish

Investor Relations

sam@motivepartners.com

For Franklin Templeton:

Matthew Walsh

matthew.walsh@franklintempleton.com

Source: CAIS

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ALTOR and TRITON to divest majority stake in OPTIGROUP to FSN

Altor

On December 21, Altor Fund II (“Altor”) and Triton Fund II (Triton) announced that they have agreed to divest the majority of its current holding in OptiGroup to a holdco controlled by FSN Capital VI (FSN). Altor, Triton and RoosGruppen will retain a minority holding in the company.

Headquartered in Mölndal, Sweden, OptiGroup has developed into a leading European business-to-business distributor of business essentials. OptiGroup provides solutions and products within facility, safety, foodservice, industrial packaging, paper and business supplies. OptiGroup’s companies support more than 90,000 customers in 16 countries across Europe.

“We are proud of what OptiGroup has become after 14 years of hard work with transformative acquisitions, divestments and operational efficiency. Today OptiGroup is a leading diversified distributor of business essentials and we believe the company will continue to grow within its core segments. We have greatly enjoyed working with a very dedicated and entrepreneurial management team as well as with Triton and RoosGruppen to support the company on this transformative journey. We are happy to pass the baton to FSN who we believe are very well positioned to take the company to the next level and are excited to retain a minority ownership” says Bengt Maunsbach, Partner at Altor.

”OptiGroup as it looks today is the product of many years of hard work to reposition the company to become a Nordic B2B distribution champion within business essentials. We believe it is now ready to take the next step, under FSN’s ownership, to continue and accelerate this journey towards becoming a pan-European champion supported by strong underlying market growth and a clear add-on agenda. We have enjoyed working together with the management team and now look forward to continue supporting the company as minority shareholders together with our existing partners Altor and RoosGruppen” says Sebastian Lapinski, Investment Advisory Professional at Triton.

OptiGroup’s current management team will continue to lead the company on this next leg of the journey.

“We are very proud of the transformation achieved during the partnership with Altor, Triton and RoosGruppen. The industry has gone through very turbulent times and our ability to always think and act long-term has put us in the great position we are in today. The commitment from our owners have been essential and we are excited about the plans going forward with FSN and very happy that Altor, Triton and Roos-gruppen will continue to be shareholders” says Søren Gaardboe, CEO of OptiGroup.

The parties have agreed not to disclose financial details of the transaction, which remains subject to customary regulatory approvals.

Jefferies and Carnegie acted as financial advisers on the transaction.

For more information, please contact:
Tor Krusell, Head of Communications at Altor, tor.krusell@altor.com, +46 705 43 87 47

About Altor
Since inception, the family of Altor funds has raised some EUR 8.3 billion in total commitments. The funds have invested in excess of EUR 5 billion in more than 75 companies. The investments have been made in medium sized predominantly Nordic companies with the aim to create value through growth initiatives and operational improvements. Among current and past investments are Oceans Apart, Rossignol, Norican Group, PIAB and Gunnebo. For more information visit www.altor.com.

Author: Katarina Karlsson
Date: 2021.12.21
Categories: News

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Audax Private Equity Completes the Sale of Acuant, Inc. to GB Group Plc

Audax Group

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Audax Private Equity (“Audax”) today announced that it has successfully completed the sale of Acuant, Inc. (“Acuant”) to GB Group Plc (“GBG”).

Acuant is a leading identity verification and KYC/AML compliance provider. Founded in 1999 and headquartered in Los Angeles, California, Acuant’s product offerings include identity verification, digital identity / eDNA proofing, and anti-fraud regulatory compliance tools. Acuant has more than 200 employees worldwide, serving a base of over 1,000 customers.

Since coming under Audax ownership in September of 2018, Acuant has achieved several key milestones of transformative growth:

  • Led significant team buildout efforts in critical engineering and go-to-market roles to accelerate revenue growth and product innovation
  • Diversified from a physical ID verification point solution to a primarily cloud-based digital identity proofing and fraud prevention platform
  • Completed the acquisitions of IdentityMind and Hello Soda to expand their product suite, breaking into new verticals and strengthening footholds within existing ones
  • Received FedRAMP Authorization for their cloud-delivered identity verification solution for government agencies

Tim Mack, Managing Director at Audax, remarked, “We are proud of the growth that Acuant has achieved in such a short period of time. The team has built a comprehensive identity verification and compliance platform, that has helped establish them as a leader in the global identity market.”

Iveshu Bhatia, Managing Director at Audax, added, “Our partnership with Acuant over the past few years has been highly collaborative. We are proud of everything the team has accomplished and wish them all the best as they continue their journey with GBG.”

Yossi Zekri, Chief Executive Officer of Acuant, commented, “Audax has played a crucial role in helping Acuant execute on its growth plan over the past few years. Through their support, we were able to establish a strong set of business fundamentals, bring on a world-class management and engineering team, and execute two highly strategic acquisitions. We are excited for the next phase of our journey with GBG as we look to become a true leader in global digital identity verification.”

Raymond James Financial served as financial advisor and Kirkland & Ellis served as legal advisor to Acuant.

 

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IK Partners acquires DA Languages from Foresight

IK Partners

IK Partners (“IK”) is pleased to announce that the IK Small Cap III Fund has acquired DA Languages Ltd. (“DAL” or “the Company”) from Foresight Group (“Foresight”). Financial terms of the transaction are not disclosed.

Founded in 1998 and headquartered in Manchester, DAL is one of the fastest growing language services providers in the UK, providing critical services to organisations communicating with non-English speakers. With a network of over 8000 mother tongue interpreters and translators, DAL’s offering spans face-to-face, video and telephone interpretation along with written translation services. Over 450 languages and dialects are provided, including sign language, enabling better outcomes for all stakeholders. Promoting inclusivity and equality is at the heart of DAL’s operations, ensuring that language barriers are removed in critical situations, particularly in healthcare and legal settings.

IK is acquiring the Company from Foresight, a leading listed infrastructure and private equity investment manager, which invested into DAL from its Regional Investment Fund in May 2018. During Foresight’s ownership, DAL has strengthened its management team, substantially grown its employee base and developed a highly diverse client base of NHS trusts, charities, city councils, and corporates, building a strong reputation for quality provision. The business has also invested significantly in technology and IT infrastructure to support its clients, including the acquisition of Miton Systems, an interpreting technology specialist, enabling DAL to offer its own proprietary video and telephone remote interpreting products.

The incumbent management team, led by Managing Director Matthew Taylor, as well as the founder, Actar Arya, will be reinvesting in the business. IK will work alongside the team to continue scaling DAL both organically and through add-on acquisitions, with a particular focus on investing further in DAL’s differentiated technology offering to broaden the client base across the public and private sectors and expand its range of services.

Tom Salmon, Partner at IK Partners and Advisor to the Small Cap III Fund, commented: “DAL is an excellent business operating in a market underpinned by attractive, long-term growth prospects. We have been very impressed with the achievements of Matthew and the rest of the team in broadening the business’ framework coverage and client base and further developing DAL’s proprietary technology offering. With our strong track record in supporting European technology-enabled services businesses to scale rapidly, we are delighted to be partnering with the management team on the next phase of the business’ journey.”

Matthew Taylor, Managing Director of DA Languages, commented: “We would like to thank the team at Foresight for their support over the past three and a half years; during which time we have grown our offering considerably to meet the critical needs of a broader range of customers. We are excited to partner with IK and benefit from their expertise and experience to further enhance our quality service and technology proposition.”

Claire Alvarez, Partner at Foresight, commented: “It has been such a positive experience working with Matt, Actar and the wider team at DAL, helping them expand their services to support vulnerable people. We are delighted that we have been able to support the Company’s rapid growth, creating so many new jobs whilst making such a worthwhile impact. We wish the team every success for the future.”

For further questions, please contact:
IK Partners
Vidya Verlkumar
Phone: +44 (0) 7787 558 193
vidya.verlkumar@ikpartners.com

Foresight Group
Influential
Chris Barry
Phone: +44 (0)7733 103 693
barry@thisisinfluential.com

About IK Partners

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 155 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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About DA Languages

D.A Languages Ltd. is a Manchester based language services provider delivering face-to-face, video and telephone interpreting, and written translation services to corporate clients, charities, NHS trusts and city councils. Founded in 1998, D.A. Languages has established an extensive database of 8,000 Mother Tongue Interpreters and Translators offering over 450 languages, making it one of the major language services providers in the UK. For more information, visit www.dalanguages.co.uk

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About Foresight Group

Foresight Group was founded in 1984 and is a leading listed infrastructure and private equity investment manager. With a long-established focus on ESG and sustainability-led strategies, it aims to provide attractive returns to its institutional and private investors from hard-to-access private markets. Foresight manages over 300 infrastructure assets with a focus on solar and onshore wind assets, bioenergy and waste, as well as renewable energy enabling projects, energy efficiency management solutions, social and core infrastructure projects and sustainable forestry assets. Its private equity team manages eight regionally focused investment funds across the UK, supporting over 120 SMEs. Its Foresight Capital Management team manages four funds investing in listed real assets with environmental and social benefits, exceeding £1.3 billion Assets Under Management (AUM). Foresight operates from 12 offices across six countries in Europe and Australia with AUM of £8.1 billion as of 30 September 2021. Foresight Group Holdings Limited listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange in February 2021. For more information, visit https://www.fsg-investors.com/

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IK Partners to sell BST to Norvestor

IK Partners

IK Partners (“IK”) is pleased to announce that the IK Small Cap II Fund has signed an agreement to sell its entire stake in BST Group Nordic AB (“BST” or “the Company”) to Norvestor. Financial terms of the transaction are not disclosed.

Founded in 2012 and headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, BST is a market leading full-service provider of active fire protection services. The Company, which is the largest pure-play active fire protection services provider in Sweden with an emerging presence across the Nordics, employs approximately 430 people across the region.

IK partnered with BST in May 2019 and since then has helped facilitate the Company’s strategic development through its investments in the operations and leadership functions as well as accelerating the Company’s organic growth in existing business areas. During the partnership, BST has also expanded into new service niches such as fire engineering, The organic growth-focused efforts were paired with an ambitious buy-and-build strategy, which entailed six bolt-on acquisitions in addition to greenfield establishments in Denmark and Norway.

Kristian Carlsson Kemppinen, Managing Partner at IK Partners and Advisor to the IK Small Cap II Fund, said: “BST has grown substantially over the course of our partnership from a local sprinkler specialist in Sweden into a national active fire protection leader with a growing Nordic presence. Through a focus on operational excellence and strong organic growth coupled with selective acquisitive growth, we’ve achieved almost a tripling of EBITA and entry into new attractive business areas and markets. We wish the team at BST every success in the future.”

Peter Bühler, CEO and Co-Founder of BST, commented: “IK has been a terrific partner over the last two and a half years, combining direct knowledge of our sector and offering value accretive hands-on support. Their support enabled our growth ambitions to materialise, allowing us to accelerate the growth of our core business as well as expanding our service offering organically and through complementary acquisitions.”

Completion of the transaction is subject to legal and regulatory approvals.

IK Partners
Maitland/AMO
James McFarlane
+44 (0) 7584 142665
jmcfarlane@maitland.co.uk / ik-maitland@maitland.co.uk

IK Partners

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 155 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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BST

BST Group AB is a Nordic full-service provider of active fire protection services with a market leading position in Sweden. The company’s mission is to protect people, societies and its vital functions by offering fire engineering and consultancy services, installation of fire protection systems and aftermarket & refurbishment services. In a decentralized way, BST aims to provide profitable growth through organic expansion while developing and acquiring successful companies in its niche managed by local passionate entrepreneurs. The company was founded 2012 by four industry veterans and has today approximately 430 full-time employees. For more information, visit: https://bstab.com/

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