Good morning Eurohubsters, Craig McGlashan here with Tuesday’s Dealflow.
With the economic outlook gloomy, private equity firms are becoming increasingly selective about their investments. We’ve heard a lot about how tech firms that help businesses be more efficient will be among the big winners in this new environment. Few could fit the bill better than the first trade we’ll look at today. It also highlighted another trend we’ve focused on – the move away from the seller’s market of the last few years.
Good optics. Accent Equity will seek to expand Inteno Group into markets with low fibre penetration, such as Germany, the UK, Italy and parts of Eastern Europe, Daniel Winberg, partner and investment manager at Accent Equity, told PE Hub Europe’s Nina Lindholm.
In mid-August, Accent Equity announced that a consortium led by Accent Equity 2017 fund had agreed to acquire Inteno Group from Accent Equity 2012 and several minority shareholders.
Headquartered in Stockholm, Inteno Group is a developer and provider of fibre products, powered by an open-source operating system and software platform. The group’s product and software offerings include Wi-Fi routers, gateways and extenders, mesh systems, and fibre termination units for home IoT devices.
“The fibre rollout in Europe is at very different maturity levels,” Winberg explained. “In the Nordics, fibre is well established, whereas other markets are very much in the early rollout phase.”
Accent plans to target these early-stage countries during its new hold period of Inteno. The North American market, according to Winberg, is “of course an attractive one” but the firm is still evaluating any potential expansion there.
In order to launch quickly into the new markets, Inteno’s growth will be organic and acquisitive. “The plan is also to enhance Inteno’s capabilities on the technology side, which might lead to some smaller niche acquisitions,” Winberg explained.
Stockholm-based Accent made its initial investment in Inteno in 2016 from its Accent Equity 2012 vehicle, which is nearing the end of its lifecycle. After the firm started the exit process, Inteno received “quite a lot of interest” from strategic and financial buyers, according to Winberg. “But none where we felt we got paid for the anticipated uptick in terms of the performance of the company, which materialised during 2022,” he said. “At least not without any type of earnout, which were all quite buyer friendly.”
IPO disappointment. Speaking of exits, many in the private equity industry and beyond last week keenly watched the IPO of Porsche as a potential bellwether for the European market in general. While the sale went well – check our coverage here – the Wolfsburg-based luxury car firm has since had a mixed performance.
After the deal was priced at €82.50 a share late last week on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, the share price spiked to nearly €86, but then dropped and yesterday fell to a low of €81.30, although it was back around the IPO price today.
That sluggish performance led German conglomerate ThyssenKrupp to hold back on the float of its green hydrogen division Nucera, according to a source spoken to by GlobalCapital.
Connections. Switching back to the fibre market, Triton-backed O’Connor Utilities Group (OCU) announced the acquisition of fibre-optic specialist InICT. The deal followed OCU’s purchase of telecommunications infrastructure services provider Opals.
InICT installs fibre-optic cable for infrastructure clients across the north of England. It was founded in 2018 and is headquartered in Leeds.
OCU’s strategy is to add to its own expertise across the north of England in the telecoms and multi-utility sectors.
OCU works with clients such as CityFibre, Virgin Media and KCOM. These companies are supporting the UK government’s Project Gigabit, an infrastructure project aiming to improve connectivity for homes and businesses across the UK.
Consultancy. Moving on to potential deals, Carlyle, CVC and BC Partners are interested in buying energy consultant Wood Mackenzie, potentially valuing the company at up to £2.5 billion ($2.8 billion; €2.9 billion), sources told the Mail on Sunday.
Wood Mackenzie is headquartered in Edinburgh and is owned by US firm Verisk Analytics, which bought it for £1.85 billion in 2015.
Conferencing. On Wednesday and Thursday this week, I’ll be with PE Hub Europe’s Nina Lindholm and David Wansboro at Private Equity International’s Investor Relations, Marketing & Communications Forum: Europe in London.
It’d be great to have a chat if you’re there – drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to meet up.
That’s it from me. I’ll be back with the Dealflow tomorrow – and I’ll perhaps see you at the conference.