First up is a deal announced this morning by Bridgepoint, as it takes a minority stake in a Spanish digital marketing and communications company.
Next we take a look at a pair of industries that have been shaken up by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. KKR is making a move to take OHB, a German space and tech company, private alongside its majority shareholders. OHB CEO Marco Fuchs claimed that “the strategic importance of space has become an irrefutable political reality in the context of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine”.
Next, Nina Lindholm has an in-depth interview with Jaroslava Korpanec at Actis about the renewable energy sector in Central and Eastern Europe – including how upping investment in the area could reduce its reliance on Russian gas.
Bridgepoint has taken a minority stake in Samy Alliance, a digital marketing and communications company headquartered in Madrid.
Aurica Capital will remain the biggest shareholder with a 48 percent stake. Other shareholders are Jaguar Path Ventures, Inveready Technology Investment Group and Sabadell Venture Capital.
Following a 25 percent increase in turnover in 2022, Samy reported €50 million in revenues last year via a combination of organic and inorganic growth, geographical expansion through acquisitions and integration of new services, according to a release.
“Samy is a global, integrated digital marketing services company with a leading position and expertise in the social media ecosystem, ideally positioned to capture the growing demand from blue-chip customers for these marketing services, with a social-first approach,” said Hector Perez, partner at Bridgepoint.
Samy’s growth plans will be accelerated, both organically and via acquisitions, following this investment, said the release.
(Note: Bridgepoint owns PEI Group, the publisher of PE Hub Europe.)
KKR is making a take-private play for OHB, a space and technology company headquartered in Bremen, Germany.
The private equity firm entered an agreement with OHB and its majority shareholder the Fuchs Family Foundation for a strategic investment. KKR intends to launch a voluntary public tender offer for all OHB’s shares at €44 each, a premium of 39 percent to the average share price over the last three months and valuing the total equity at around €770 million.
OHB’s share price closed at just over €32 last week and is now just over €42. The company reported EBITDA of €44.1 million for the first half of the year, up from €42.8 million in the same period a year earlier. That was helped by a rise in the space systems segment’s EBITDA to €33.9 million from €30.1 million a year earlier. The other two reporting segments are aerospace and digital, which both fell year on year.
The majority shareholders have agreed with KKR that they will not accept the offer for their shares, leaving them in control of the company. There will be no minimum acceptance rate and KKR has agreed not to enter a domination agreement.
OHB, via its largest subsidiary OHB System, has been around for more than 40 years and provides products and services for satellite systems in the fields of observation, navigation, telecoms and science.
The company had been able to fund its growth plans since its IPO in March 2001 and subsequently thanks to the zero-interest rate environment since the global financial crisis in 2008, said OHB CEO Marco Fuchs in a statement. But obviously that environment has changed, with central banks hiking rates over the last year.
To achieve its strategic goals requires “a sustainable capital base as a foundation for implementation”, he said.
“We consider the offer to be very attractive as it provides existing shareholders with immediate liquidity and the opportunity to realise long-term value potential in advance,” he added.
Separately, KKR has committed to underwrite a capital increase of 10 percent of OHB’s share capital and to invest €30 million to develop Rocket Factory Augsburg, an OHB affiliate, through a convertible bond issue.
The news came as KKR was making headlines on the other side of the Atlantic, acquiring New York-based book publishing company Simon & Schuster for $1.62 billion from Paramount Global. Read more on that over on PE Hub.
OHB CEO Fuchs mentioned that “the strategic importance of space has become an irrefutable political reality in the context of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine”.
Perhaps the sector creating most headaches since Russia’s invasion though is that of energy supply, with several European countries having relied heavily on Russian gas.
That was a topic that Jaroslava Korpanec, head of Central and Eastern Europe, energy infrastructure at Actis, touched on in an interview about the renewable energy sector with PE Hub Europe’s Nina Lindholm.
London-headquartered Actis launched independent clean energy power producer Rezolv Energy in July 2022. In November, Rezolv acquired rights to build and operate a 1,044 MW solar photovoltaic plant in Arad County, Romania from Monsson Group, with the aim to build Europe’s largest solar photovoltaic plant.
“The region is heavily underinvested in energy assets which would lead to decarbonisation of the region as well as establish its independence away from Russian gas supplies,” said Korpanec. “The issue of security of energy supply in the region can only be resolved with significant investment in the renewable energy sector.”
Investments have been “disappointingly” slow, according to Korpanec.
Despite a slowdown in deals, Actis sees increased M&A activity and new opportunities ahead. Korpanec predicted the upcoming activity could comprise distressed assets struggling with an increased debt burden. But these types of assets would be “snapped up relatively quickly” due to the availability of idle capital, she explained. “I do see competition coming back to the market, but I don’t expect a bargain hunter second half,” she added.