Aurelius Group in talks to take smartphone reseller private

Mercia exits VR biz; Nordic sells to Antin.

We’re kicking things off with a look at another take-private offer for a company that only listed a couple of years ago. This time it’s smartphone reseller musicMagpie attracting interest from private equity firm Aurelius Group and telecoms company BT Group. We take a look at that and call back to our recent feature on the spate of reprivatisations this year.

Next we turn to exits, with Mercia Asset Management selling its stake in a virtual reality studio to Aonic and Nordic Capital agreeing to exit a safety tech company to Antin Infrastructure Partners.


MusicMagpie, a reseller of smartphones and other devices, is in early-stage discussions with private equity firm Aurelius Group and telecoms company BT Group over a possible take-private deal.

MusicMagpie was founded in 2007 and operates under the musicMagpie brand in the UK, where it has an office in Stockport, and under Decluttr in the US, where it has an office in Atlanta.

The business went public on London’s junior AIM market at 193p per share in May 2021, giving it an equity valuation at the time of £208 million ($260 million; €238 million). Its share price has dropped since, however. The company’s share price was at about 25p at time of writing, having ended last week at around 19p.

This is the latest in a series of companies that only went public during the IPO boom of 2021 potentially moving back into private hands. Check out this roundup of some of those deals as well as the reasons behind them.

Aurelius and BT have until 18 December to announce a firm intention to make an offer for musicMagpie.

Shore Capital is nominated adviser and broker to musicMagpie and Deloitte is financial adviser.

Virtual exit

Mercia Asset Management has sold its stake in nDreams, a virtual reality studio, to Aonic for an enterprise value of £90.3 million ($112 million; €103 million).

nDreams is based in Farnborough in the UK.

Mercia held a 33.2 percent direct stake in nDreams, resulting in total consideration of £30.2 million, split in £26.4 million in cash proceeds and £3.8 million re-invested into Aonic, according to a release.

This exit results in a 2.7x return on invested capital and an 18.4 percent IRR, and the exit price represents a £4.4 million or 17.5 percent increase on Mercia’s carrying value for nDreams as of 31 March.

Mercia made an initial investment of around £300,000 in nDreams in March 2014 through its managed funds, with the group first investing from its own balance sheet in December 2014, the release said.

Aonic, a video game investment company, made an initial £20 million investment in nDreams in March 2022.

Wealth and safety

While the tricky exit market has meant some private equity firms have held on to assets a little longer than usual, it looks like one investment has completed ahead of schedule.

Nordic Capital has agreed to sell Consilium Safety Group, a safety tech provider, to Antin Infrastructure Partners’ Flagship Fund V.

Consilium is based in Gothenburg, Sweden. It services the marine, energy, transport and building sectors.

“The plans set out at the time of the acquisition have been successfully executed much earlier than expected,” said Joakim Andreasson, MD, Nordic Capital Advisors. “Consilium Safety Group is now well placed to continue its growth trajectory and outperform the market.”

Nordic Capital acquired Consilium in 2020. It invested in R&D, expanded the product set, increased digitalisation and refined operations, according to a release.

Consilium’s revenues increased from SKr1.4 billion to SKr2.5 billion ($238.3 million; €218.2 million) and EBITDA almost tripled in the three years of ownership, the release added.