BC Partners is set to acquire the Amsterdam-headquartered puzzle book publisher Keesing Media Group from Belgian investment firm Ergon Capital and media company Mediahuis. The firm declined to disclose financial details, but a person familiar with the situation told the deal is valued at above €300m.
The investment was made via BC Partner’s 10th buyout fund, closed in 2018 at €7bn. The vehicle focuses on businesses across Europe and in North America in the technology, media and telecommunications, financial services, healthcare, consumer and industrials sectors.
The Keesing deal aims to support the company’s digital expansion as well as its organic growth initiatives, including increasing its geographic presence in new continents, BC Partners said.
Founded in the Netherlands over a century ago, Keesing is present in more than 40 countries and is the largest puzzle content developer in Europe. The company, which has 340 employees, produces more than 100 million puzzle books a year and offers online brain games as well. Last year, it posted €156m of turnover, according to its website.
Since Ergon Capital invested in the business in 2017, the company concluded nine add-on acquisitions, Pieter Lambrecht, the firm’s partner said in a statement. “We are convinced that Keesing will succeed in its further global and digital expansion,” he noted.
BC Partners’ investment in a media company comes at a time when the sector took a hit during the pandemic. According to data provider Preqin, as of mid-September, private equity only backed 16 deals in the media sector in Europe, nearly half of 31 transactions reported in the same period last year. In the first nine months of 2019, deals had an aggregated value of $6bn against $300m this year.
“Keesing has many of the characteristics that we typically look for in our investments. It is the clear market leader in a sector with proven resilience,” Nikos Stathopoulos, partner at BC Partners said.
At the moment, BC Partners has more than €27bn of assets under management in private equity, private credit and real estate. Since its inception, the firm’s private equity division has completed 117 investments in companies with a total enterprise value of over €149bn.
Source: Private Equity News
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