Blackstone ‘encouraged’ by rise of individual investors in private markets; Sun European parts ways with Allied Glass

Sun European Partners acquired Allied, a manufacturer of glass packaging containers for the premium spirits, food and drinks markets, in December 2019.

Good morning Eurohubsters, Nina Lindholm here with the Dealflow.

This morning, we get an interesting insight into the growing popularity of private markets among individual investors. In terms of deals, we have a bit of a range. There is a tech-enabled market research and analytics provider acquisition to look at, and an exit from a manufacturer of glass packaging containers.

A glass half full. We have a yet another exit. In case you missed it, exits were also front and centre yesterday. Sun European Partners announced this morning its affiliate has signed an agreement to sell Allied Glass to Verallia Group. The sale of Allied is the first exit for Fund VII.

Allied is a Leeds, England-based manufacturer of glass packaging containers for the premium spirits, food and drinks markets. The company, founded in 1874, specialises in shorter production runs for bespoke premium bottles, which are manufactured to order.

Sun European Partners acquired Allied in December 2019. During the ownership period, Allied increased the use of recycled content in its glass production. A capex programme for a new facility increased manufacturing efficiency. According to Sun European, these initiatives expanded the company’s market share and profitability, growing EBITDA “significantly”.

“Before investing in the company, we identified several operational opportunities and have worked with management since 2019 to execute on those, including ESG-friendly product innovation, SKU reporting and a significant capex programme enhancing plant utilisation,” said Paul Daccus, managing director of Sun European Partners. “Our work with Allied Glass underlines Sun European’s commitment to partnering with outstanding management teams to drive value creation. This sale has allowed us to achieve a very successful outcome for Allied Glass and our investors, and we’re confident that Allied Glass will continue to go from strength to strength as part of Verallia, a global leader in glass manufacturing.”

Sun European Partners is a London-based private investment advisory firm. Verallia Group is a Paris-headquartered producer of glass packaging for beverages and food products.

In private. Before heading off on his holiday, my colleague Craig McGlashan spoke to Rashmi Madan, head of EMEA for Private Wealth Solutions at Blackstone, about the growth of private investment in private markets and how investing individuals’ money in asset classes such as private equity differs in approach to investing institutional cash.

“Our Private Wealth Solutions business is focused on providing our partners – private banks and their clients – with access to institutional quality investing in private markets,” Madan said. “That allows individuals to invest beyond traditional asset classes and unlock differentiated opportunities. This is an area where we have seen substantial growth. To give you an idea of this growth: the AUM Blackstone handles on behalf of retail investors globally now stands at $236 billion, a four-fold increase in the past four years.”

When considering reasons behind the interest, Madan highlighted increased knowledge among investors.

“An increased level of education around private markets is definitely a factor,” she said. “We do our part to encourage this by hosting Blackstone university events. Another, more current, reason for the growth in popularity has been the unique ability of private markets to provide potential protection for investors in the current market environment.”

Madan, who is based in London, was previously chief operating officer of institutional client solutions (ICS) in Europe, as well as head of ICS Europe for Blackstone Credit.

To learn more about Blackstone Private Wealth Solutions, and what the future holds for the platform, you can read Craig’s full interview with Madan here.

Testing 1, 2, 3. Let’s finish off with a tech deal. Ufenau has announced it has reached an agreement to acquire a majority stake in Marktest via Ufenau VII.

Marktest is a Portuguese tech-enabled market research and analytics services specialist based in Lisbon. The company supports media channels, agencies and advertisers to capture relevant data and convert it into actionable insights. It offers a suite of proprietary media planning, business intelligence and analytics tools.

“Marktest has proven its ability to be at the forefront of market research in symbiosis with powerful data analytics software highly valued in the market,” said Ralf Flore, managing partner at Ufenau. “Ufenau is delighted to support the group in its next growth phase, increasing its presence in the international market through strategic acquisitions that will complement its already well-established capacities and service offering.”

Ufenau is a Swiss investment group headquartered in Zurich. It invests in service companies across the DACH, Benelux and Iberian regions.

Read our full report on the deal here.

That’s it for today. I’ll be writing to you again tomorrow.