Silver Lake to Buy Equistone’s Global Blue for $1.3 Billion

Silver Lake Management LLC, the largest technology-focused buyout firm, agreed to buy shopping- refund payment handler Global Blue from Equistone Partners Europe, its European private equity owner.

The transaction values the Nyon, Switzerland-based company, which specializes in sales-tax refunds for tourists who buy luxury goods while abroad, at 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion), Equistone said in an e-mailed statement today. Partners Group Holding AG (PGHN), a Swiss asset manager, will take a minority stake, Silver Lake said in a separate statement.

“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,” Per Setterberg, chief executive officer of Global Blue, said in the statement. “Silver Lake and Partners Group’s impressive Asian footprints will also bolster Global Blue’s expansion initiatives in that important region.”

Equistone, which was spun off from Barclays Plc last year, bought Global Blue in 2007 for 360 million euros. Since then, the company has doubled its revenue and increased earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to about 97 million euros from about 35 million euros, according to Equistone.

Computerized Refunds

The new owners will back the company’s plan to further computerize the process of tax refunds at airports, Silver Lake Managing Director Christian Lucas said in an interview.

“As digitization of the business progresses, Silver Lake also sees potential to provide business-intelligence analytics to both merchants and international travelers to facilitate duty-free shopping,” Lucas said.

The buyers have hired Royal Bank of Canada, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Natixis to arrange debt financing for the buyout of Global Blue, according to three people with knowledge of the matter. The debt package will help fund less than half the total acquisition price.

Equistone invests in mid-sized companies and operates from offices in Paris, Germany, Switzerland and the U.K. Advisers to the firm included JPMorgan and Evercore Partners, it said. Silver Lake, based in Menlo Park, California, is seeking to raise as much as $10 billion for its next buyout fund, according to a marketing document obtained by Bloomberg News.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anne-Sylvaine Chassany in London at achassany@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Evans at eevans3@bloomberg.net

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.