N4 increases investment in NeuroClin 

Eurazeo fund in first growth equity deal; European IPOs slow.

As market normalisation continues in the post-pandemic era, healthcare is one segment where we could see a pick-up of deal activity moving forward. It’s certainly active this morning, with N4 Partners making a further investment in a neurological research organisation, and a Eurazeo fund making a growth investment in Kinvent, a connected sensors producer for physiotherapy.

Among all exit routes, the IPO market was practically stagnant all of last year. This morning, we look at just how slow activity was at the end of 2023, with the help of a report by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

We’ll finish with a double add on in the energy segment. Riverside-backed energy information provider Montel has acquired Energy Brainpool and Qwatt to expand Montel’s product range.

Neurological

Starting off with the first of the healthcare deals. N4 Partners has completed an additional investment into NeuroClin, a neurological research organisation.

NeuroClin is headquartered in Glasgow, Scotland. It is a global centre in Alzheimer’s vaccine research.

Backed by Foresight Group, Fullbrook Thorpe Investments and N4, NeuroClin launched its maiden Parkinson’s research programme and increased the headcount to around 60 employees, according to a release.

Parkinson’s disease research received PE backing late last year, when Syncona announced the acquisition of Freeline Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotechnology company. Syncona will provide Freeline with up to $15 million of financing, to enable the company to advance its lead FLT201 therapy in Gaucher disease, as well as continuing to advance its GBA1-linked Parkinson’s disease research programme, according to a press statement.

Digital physio

Continuing with healthcare but moving over to physical therapy. The Nov Santé Actions Non Cotées Fund, managed by Eurazeo, has finalised its first growth equity investment in Kinvent, acquiring a minority stake alongside the founder and existing minority shareholders.

The transaction is a part of a new equity financing round of €16 million.

Montpellier, France-based Kinvent is a connected sensor provider for physical therapy. Its services are used by more than 14,000 physiotherapists operating in 68 countries.

Kinvent is planning to upscale, bolster its positions in its core markets and enter new markets, including the US, according to a release.

“Nearly three years after launching the fund and starting out in development capital, we are beginning a new chapter, having struck our first growth equity deal,” said Arnaud Vincent, managing director of the Nov Santé Actions Non Cotées fund. “This investment fits perfectly with the strategy pursued by Nov Santé Actions Non Cotées – to increase the digitalisation of the healthcare profession and accelerate the transformation of SMEs in France and Europe.”

No IPO

Exits of all kinds had a sluggish 2023, but IPOs especially so. In Europe, only 43 IPOs were launched in the fourth quarter of 2023 by companies headquartered in the region, according to a report by S&P Global Market Intelligence. The figure matches Q4 of 2022 but is well below the 204 launched in the same period of 2021.

A total of $17.14 billion was sold through IPOs in 2023, down $540 million from 2022, but below the $111.50 billion sold in 2021, the report added.

Globally, only 370 IPOs launched in the fourth quarter of 2023, down from 417 in the fourth quarter of 2022 and 921 in the same period of 2021.

IPOs are unlikely to see a dramatic pick-up according to Karsten Langer, managing partner of Riverside Europe, who spoke to PE Hub Europe for our outlook Q&A series. “While there is likely to be some regression towards the mean in 2024, we don’t expect a sudden swing back,” he said. “Although public stock markets have done surprisingly well in 2023, the IPO market is likely to remain soft in 2024, but we expect strategics and private equity buyers to come back to the market.”

Severin Matten, director and member of 3i’s global healthcare team, echoed Langer’s thoughts. “IPO windows have been fickle and short-lived in 2023,” said Matten. “I expect some improvement in 2024 as long as geopolitical challenges like Russia-Ukraine, Israel-Gaza, China-Taiwan-USA or growing conflicts in Latin America do not worsen. Thus, we should expect a fairly stable mix of exit routes, potentially with a slightly growing share of financial exits.”

Energetic data

Finishing off with a double acquisition. The Riverside Company’s portfolio company Montel has acquired Energy Brainpool, an analytics and consultancy provider to the European power market, and Qwatt, a subscription-based benchmarking tool used to estimate the market value of PPAs.

“The addition of Energy Brainpool and Qwatt will allow Montel to strengthen its analytical product range, expand the offering of Energy Brainpool to new geographies and use each company’s datasets and competencies to further enhance the value proposition,” said Karsten Langer, Riverside Europe’s managing partner.

Riverside acquired a majority stake in Montel in September 2022. Montel completed its first add-on of EnAppSys in January 2023.