EQT takes Mabtech in first acquisition of new strategy

Synova parts with Vistair; PE people moves busy.

Biotech is our opening topic this morning as we deep dive into a double announcement from EQT. The firm is acquiring a Swedish biotech company as part of the launch of a new Healthcare Growth Strategy. Private equity firms adding new strategies, whether organically or by acquisition, has been a big theme over the last 12 months.

It’s been a busy start to the year for exits and we have another to look at today. Synova has exited a data management software provider for the aviation and defence sectors, which Tikehau Capital’s Roberto Quagliuolo told us earlier would be an area to watch this year.

January is a month where we see a lot of movement in terms of promotions and new hires. I’ve compiled a recap of some of the latest people moves for those looking to keep up with all the activity.

New year, new strategy

Let’s start with a deep dive. PE Hub Europe’s Craig McGlashan caught up with Isabel de Paoli, partner at EQT, to learn about EQT’s acquisition of Swedish biotech company Mabtech.

De Paoli told Craig that Mabtech was a “perfect fit” for the private equity firm’s new Healthcare Growth Strategy. EQT plans to help Mabtech grow its commercial operations and product portfolio and expand internationally, including in the US, de Paoli added.

EQT is acquiring Mabtech from IK Partners’ Small Cap II Fund, which purchased it in December 2019. Several other funds had been interested in the company, PE Hub Europe understands.

EQT’s new strategy focuses on helping “high-growth, innovative companies” scale across the different subsectors of the healthcare markets by using EQT’s experience in healthcare investing, said de Paoli, which tops more than €23 billion over three decades. She joins the Healthcare Growth advisory team from EQT Private Equity and previously was chief strategy officer at German multinational science and technology company Merck.

Mabtech being a “science-driven, market niche leader” with high growth made it a good fit for the strategy, she added.

The deal touches on Healthcare Growth’s understanding of long-term research trends based on its relationship with the EQT Life Science team, which was “critical to be able to evaluate the markets and evaluate the products of Mabtech”, said de Paoli. “But also combining that with the commercial playbooks that we have from the private equity side.”

I recommend reading Craig’s full story, which covers EQT’s expansion plans for Mabtech and plans for the company’s product portfolio. You can find the piece here.

Flying away

Switching over to an exit. Synova has sold Vistair to Insight Partners and Liberty Hall Capital Partners. The firms have merged Vistair with Comply365.

The exit will deliver a return of 6.5x invested capital for Synova.

Vistair provides data management software to the aviation and defence sectors, focusing on flight operations, engineering and safety. The company is based in Bristol in England.

Over the ownership period, Vistair transitioned from a managed service provider to a SaaS business, according to a press statement.

Vistair’s EBITDA grew by over 500 percent over the ownership period, the release added.

Comply365 provides enterprise SaaS and mobile services for content management and document distribution in highly regulated industries, including aviation and rail. The company is based in Beloit in Wisconsin.

Aerospace and defence are sectors we could see increased activity in this year, according to Roberto Quagliuolo, deputy head of private equity and co-head of Italy at Tikehau Capital. Quagliuolo spoke to PE Hub Europe as part of our outlook Q&A series, listing energy transition, aerospace and defence, and agriculture as sectors to watch for private equity in 2024.

Moving people

As it’s January, promotions and new hire announcements are coming in hot. I wanted to compile some of the people news we’ve seen into one place.

First, we have ECI Partners promoting two investment directors, Daniel Bailey and Rich Pearce, to partner.

Bailey joined ECI in 2018. He co-led ECI’s recent investment in compliance software provider ISMS.online. Pearce has been an investment director in ECI’s Commercial Team since 2019. He has worked on investments such as Ciphr, BCN Group and Commify.

Next, we have another promotion. Stanley Capital Partners has promoted Rodolphe Louvet to principal. Louvet previously held the role of senior associate within SCP’s investment team and has worked closely with the firm’s portfolio company LXO Group.

Over on healthcare, Global Healthcare Opportunities has appointed Stuart Quin as a partner. Quin most recently served as chief executive officer at Medica Group, a teleradiology services company. He has nearly two decades of experience within private equity, principally at 3i.

Finally, we have Jeito Capital promoting Ksenija Pavletic to partner investor. Pavletic has been promoted to help lead Jeito’s growth plans, according to a press statement.

For more people move news, check out the people section below.