Riverside Europe spots potential buyer’s market; Sixth Street buys more FC Barcelona TV fees

Karsten Langer of Riverside sees technology as safe bet amid weakening economic conditions.

Good morning Eurohubsters, Craig McGlashan here with the Dealflow.

Today marks the official launch of PE Hub Europe – a little more on that later – but first I want to tell you about some of the exciting coverage we’ve been working on lately.

Balance. I spoke to Karsten Langer, managing partner at Riverside Europe, about how the investment landscape for European private equity funds is changing.

Langer has sensed a shift from “probably the best seller’s market, frankly, that anybody in our industry has ever known” to a more balanced outlook. Sectors such as technology and healthcare could be among those that benefit most as economic conditions tighten, he added.

“We made the decision at the beginning of 2021 to focus on exits quite a lot,” Langer told PE Hub Europe. “Just from my fund in Europe, in the last year we did one IPO and five trade sales. On the other hand, we had a hard time buying things while remaining disciplined on pricing. That is shifting a bit now. We’ve announced two investments this year so far.”

This movement came after Riverside’s European team closed its sixth European fund last year. At €465 million, it was the company’s largest European vehicle so far.

Langer is looking to deploy that dry powder into what he sees as a more friendly environment for buyers.

“There are not huge swings in the market, price wise,” he said. “But clearly it is becoming a little bit easier to be a disciplined buyer. The pendulum is swinging a bit from being an extreme seller’s market – probably the best seller’s market, frankly, that anybody in our industry has ever known – in the last 18 months to being a more balanced market. Maybe it will even become a buyer’s market.”

You can read the whole interview here.

An investment of two halves. Sixth Street is one firm that’s been buying. The firm announced on Friday that it had reached an agreement to acquire a further 15% share of FC Barcelona’s LaLiga broadcasting rights.

FC Barcelona, founded in 1899, is a football club that competes in La Liga, the top professional football division of the Spanish football league system.

“FC Barcelona is one of the world’s premier sporting organisations and we are glad to be expanding our relationship through this additional investment,” said Alan Waxman, co-founder and CEO of Sixth Street. “Our flexibility and cross-platform expertise continue to be of value to management teams when seeking to execute highly strategic initiatives.”

Healthy market. Another deal announced on Friday that won our interest was Keensight Capital’s acquisition of a majority stake in BYG4lab. The investment will be made alongside BYG4lab’s management team.

BYG4lab headquartered in L’Union in France, addresses both central lab and point of care testing, as well as all disciplines in the field of medical biology – immunochemistry, haematology, molecular, and microbiology, among others. BYG4lab provides services that improve workflow management, make instrument integration more efficient, handle mega lab configuration, design personalised dashboards, maximise automatic validation and manage quality control.

“We identified BYG4lab as a true international leading player in the healthtech space and have been impressed by its unique position in a market with strong value creation potential,” said Gregory Agez, partner at Keensight Capital. “We are delighted to partner with Cyril and the seasoned management team to support them in the next phase of BYG4lab’s growth.”

Introductions. And finally, I’d like to let you know a little more about PE Hub Europe, officially launched today.

PE Hub Europe extends the renowned and respected North American deal coverage of PE Hub to the European market by leveraging the unrivalled access and knowledge of PEI Group. Its mission is to get to the heart of the European private equity landscape by analysing deals and the direction of the market, and telling the stories of the people and firms making it all happen.

The introduction of PE Hub Europe, PEI Group’s third new-product launch in the last 18 months, reinforces the company’s position as a comprehensive provider of information and insight on the world of private investment. It comes at a time of vital importance, with record levels of dealmaking occurring against a backdrop marked by uncertainties both economic and political. PE Hub Europe will be your guide in these complex times and through whatever conditions lie ahead.

You can reach me on craig.m@peimedia.com, and our reporters Nina Lindholm at nina.l@peimedia.com and David Wansboro at david.wansboro@peimedia.com

We hope you enjoy our coverage and we hope to meet you in person soon.

That’s it from me – have a great week and speak tomorrow.