Six months after the management team led a buy-out of the firm, Equistone Partners Europe has sold Global Blue to Silver Lake Partners.
Equistone Partners Europe has sold travel-related payment services business Global Blue for €1 billion (£802,000).
The firm, formerly Barclays Private Equity, originally backed the €360 million management buy-out of Global Blue in September 2007. During its investment period revenues have doubled and EBITDA rose from €35 million to €97 million.
Switzerland-headquartered Global Blue provides services such as tax refunds for travellers on purchases when shopping abroad and currency conversion, allowing users to pay in their home nation at the point of sale.
Developments under Equistone’s tenure included targeting ‘high growth areas’ outside of the EU. The business now generates 70 per cent of its revenues from emerging markets such as China and Russia.
The firm also bolstered the management team of Global Blue by bringing in CFO Philipp Manser (formerly of Hotelplan and Roche) and chief marketing officer Arjen Kruger who has worked at MasterCard.
Per Settersberg, president and chief executive of Global Blue, comments, ‘Equistone has provided tremendous support in developing Global Blue over the past five years during which we have successfully expanded globally and doubled the number of transactions handled 27 million annually.
‘We are in a good position to take advantage of the long term growth trends in both international travel and spending on luxury goods under new ownership.’
According to Equistone, the divestment of Global Blue take total capital returned to investors to 60 per cent of Fund III. The fund, which was established in 2007, has made 38 investments and so far closed eight realisations.
Owen Clarke, chief investment officer at Equistone, ‘Its powerful network of merchants and refund points allowing travellers to make significant savings on their overseas shopping.’