5 PE deals living a life of luxury

Partners Group, Bain Capital and BC Partners are among PE firms making deals in the luxury segment.

Words such as ‘luxury’ and ‘premium’ are attractive to most people, and private equity dealmakers seem to be no exception. Over the last few months, PE Hub Europe covered many deals in the luxury sector. Here are five recent deals that caught our attention (in reverse chronological order):

1. Ontario Teachers’-backed GPA Global bolts on Cosfibel Group

In early January, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan portfolio company GPA Global acquired Cosfibel Group, a provider of luxury promotional packaging, luxury gifting and merchandising products.

Based in Levallois-Perret in France, Cosfibel designs, develops and manufactures gifts and packaging for the beauty, fine food, and wine and spirits markets. Cosfibel comprises four companies: Cosfibel Premium, Grumbe, Shopluxe and Boitealu.

GPA, headquartered in Mansfield, Massachusetts, is a provider of packaging products, serving end-markets including consumer electronics, beverages, jewellery, health and beauty. Ontario Teachers’ acquired a co-control stake in the company from EQT in September 2022.

The acquisition of Cosfibel is the second “major” acquisition by GPA with Teachers’ as a shareholder, following the acquisition of California-based Jenco Productions, the investor said.

2. Partners Group increases stake in watchmaker Breitling

Just before the holidays in December, Partners Group announced an increase in its equity stake in Swiss watchmaker Breitling, making the it the company’s largest shareholder. CVC was Breitling’s majority shareholder, after an investment in 2017. CVC and other shareholders remained invested alongside Partners Group.

Breitling is a watchmaker based in Grenchen, Switzerland, with a “unique” heritage in the industry as the inventor of the modern wrist chronograph, Partners Group said.

Key value creation initiatives include continuing Breitling’s geographical expansion and launching new products.

“After a fundamental transformation in the past five years, Breitling is building on its outstanding achievements and is now in a position to scale the business and become one of the world leaders in the watch industry,” said Alfred Gantner, co-founder and executive member of the board of directors at Partners Group.

3. Stirling Square acquires Tapì from Wise Equity

In late December, Stirling Square bought Tapì – a producer and distributor of technological closures for the premium and super premium beverage segments – from Wise Equity.

Massanzago, Italy-based Tapì is active in the spirits, wines, condiments, cosmetics, beers and soft drinks sectors. The company has production facilities in Italy, France, Mexico and Argentina.

Wise Equity invested in Tapì in 2017. Under Wise Equity’s ownership, Tapì completed strategic M&A, and made “major” investments in production capacity and efficiency.

4. Aksìa Group buys majority stake in Gommatex Spalmati

At the start of August, Aksìa acquired a majority stake in Gommatex Spalmati, a company that specialises in the production of high-quality, sustainable and customisable coagulated and coated fabrics for use by major fashion and luxury brands.

The luxury sector is a new addition to Milan-headquartered Aksìa’s portfolio. “This acquisition has enabled the completion of our portfolio in this context of Italian excellences sectors,” Sara Perillo, partner at Aksìa, told PE Hub Europe.

Completing the set was not the only driver behind the deal. “Luxury has always been a very resilient sector, as demonstrated during the covid outbreak, and is expected to confirm this capability also in case of a recession scenario,” Perillo explained.

5. BC Partners enters joint ownership with Bain Capital for Fedrigoni

At the end of July, Bain Capital signed a joint ownership agreement with BC Partners for specialist packaging manufacturer Fedrigoni. Bain Capital originally acquired Fedrigoni in 2017.

Headquartered in Milan, Fedrigoni specialises in the production of special papers for packaging, graphics, print and art, and in the conversion of paper and other materials into self-adhesive products.

“Luxury packaging is generally more insulated from recessions than many other packaging segments,” Stefano Ferraresi, partner and head of the industrial sector in Europe and the Italian market at BC Partners, told PE Hub Europe. “And the self-adhesive label businesses supply products for applications in personal care, wine labels [and] pharma, among others, that tend to be rather stable during soft economic periods.”

For Bain Capital, there are two main areas of growth: smart labels and sustainable packaging.

“Believe it or not, but in the world of paper and labels there are actually new technologies with great growth potential,” Ivano Sessa, managing director and European co-head of the industrial vertical at Bain told PE Hub Europe. “Think about RFID, or so-called smart labels, which is one of the more recent acquisitions in our label business, which allows goods and products to be tracked at a fraction of the previous cost. Think about the relevance of that in retail, in distribution and in a number of other applications.”

PE Hub Europe expects to see more deals within the luxury segment.