Bain sees smart labelling future for Fedrigoni; Norwegian flurry as Mercell and Defero picked up

Thoma Bravo has purchased Mercell while Corsair-owned Axo bought Defero.

Morning Eurohubsters, Craig McGlashan here with Wednesday’s Dealflow.

We got a lot of interest in our interview with BC Partners a few weeks ago on its co-investment into Fedrigoni with Bain Capital Private Equity. Well, now we have the deal from the Bain Capital side.

Smart labelling. Bain will look to leverage the work it has done with Fedrigoni over the last few years to further grow the firm via its new joint-ownership, Ivano Sessa, a managing director and European co-head of the industrial vertical, told me. Smart labels and sustainable packaging are two potential areas for growth.

Bain originally acquired Fedrigoni in 2017, then in late July announced that it had signed documents to reinvest alongside BC Partners and management.

Bain Capital’s Fund VI made the reinvestment, PE Hub Europe understands. Sources familiar with the deal, which is expected to close in late 2022, said that Bain Capital achieved a multiple of money of more than 8x.

Headquartered in Milan, Fedrigoni produces paper for packaging, graphics, print and art. It also has a business line converting paper and other materials into self-adhesive products.

Its time owning Fedrigoni has led the firm “to a leadership position in our respective markets globally”, Sessa told PE Hub Europe. He cited that the company now has approximately 40 percent of the global market share of wine and champagne labels, and around 40 percent of the market for luxury rigid packaging and shopping bags in Europe. “That type of competitive position gives strengths to the business and, coupled with growth, creates some very interesting dynamics and opportunities,” he added.

One such avenue is to build on its label business. “Believe it or not, but in the world of paper and labels there are actually new technologies with great growth potential,” said Sessa. “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.”

You can read the whole interview here.

Norway ahead. We’ve seen a little flurry of Norwegian deals of late, perhaps because the Nordic countries tend to start and end their summer holidays a bit earlier than the rest of Europe (thanks to our resident Finn Nina Lindholm for that bit of info!).

Thoma Bravo on Tuesday completed the purchase of Mercell, an Oslo-based provider of e-tendering and procurement systems.

Mercell provides tendering software for public buyers and tender notification software for public sector suppliers. The deal was carried out via a voluntary cash offer from Spring Bidco, a Thoma Bravo portfolio company, for all shares in Mercell at an offer price of NKr6.30 ($0.65; €0.64) per share.

“Mercell’s SaaS network of buyers and suppliers for public tendering is extremely valuable and, as a private company alongside Thoma Bravo, Mercell is well positioned to enhance its product offering and global growth,” said George Jaber, a senior vice president at Thoma Bravo. “Our team is excited to partner with Mercell to help the company achieve its full potential and set Mercell up for sustained long-term growth.”

Thoma Bravo is making a bit of a push into Europe. The Chicago-based private equity firm is also in discussions to take UK cyber security firm Darktrace private and is planning to open a London office.

Scoring a deal. Another Oslo-headquartered company was picked up by Axo, a Corsair portfolio company, on Tuesday. Defero is a credit-scoring and financial management platform. It has over 400,000 users across the region and provides them with an assessment of their credit score combined with a full view of their credit profile. It offers users a range of budgeting and financial management services.

“Axo’s acquisition of Defero strengthens the company’s position as the premier distributor of innovative financial services products in the Nordic region,” said Corsair partner Derrick Estes and managing director Edward Wertheim. “We continue to see significant room for growth and adding Defero’s consumer-focused personal finance products will further accelerate Axo’s strong trajectory by increasing customer engagement, enhancing its ability to provide consumers with tailored financial solutions, and creating additional value for partners. The transaction will also give Axo the ability to explore new products and efficiently expand internationally and we look forward to continuing to support the company as it executes on those opportunities.”

Axo is an Oslo-headquartered distributor of personal finance products in the Nordic region that was picked up by New York-based Corsair in 2020.

To round out the Norwegian theme, we reported last week on CapMan Infra exiting ferry company Norled.

That’s it from me – enjoy the rest of the day and speak tomorrow.