Castlegreen on familiar ground with Investcorp mandate

Castlegreen on familiar ground with Investcorp mandate

By Nicolette Davey

Castlegreen Partners, a Nordic corporate finance advisory firm, has advised Bahrain and London-listed investment fund Investcorp on its secondary buyout of a Finnish business and credit information company, less than two years after advising on the initial sale of the group.

Investcorp has acquired Asiakastieto for “significantly more” than £100m (€125m), according to a source with knowledge of the transaction. It bought the business from UK buyout group GMT Communications Partners.

The sale of AT, which is Finland’s largest provider of business and credit information with 74% market share, provided GMT with an internal rate of return of 70%.

GMT, which specialises in the European communications sector, acquired AT in April 2006 for an undisclosed amount and was advised by Castlegreen.

According to GMT, earnings before interest tax depreciation and amoritisation increased by 31% per annum with net sales increasing by 20% between 2006 and 2008.

Rothschild were mandated by GMT to sell the business while Investcorp was advised on the transaction by Castlegreen and Danske Bank.

Copyright eFinancialNews Ltd. 2008

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Investcorp – Press release, April 9, 2008.

Investcorp to Acquire Asiakastieto

London, April 9, 2008 – Investcorp, a leading global provider and manager of alternative investment products, today announced that it has agreed to acquire Asiakastieto, Finland’s biggest business and credit information company. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Asiakastieto will be acquired from GMT Communications Partners III LLP, the private equity investment fund of GMT Communications Partners LLP, with the current management team also reinvesting in the company.

Based in Helsinki, Asiakastieto has a 74 per cent share of the Finnish credit information market, within which it is the sole personal credit information database owner. It has four main business areas: risk management and credit information services, basic company and personal information, sales and marketing information services and customers’ own information and other services.

At the core of Asiakastieto’s services are databases that consolidate data gathered over several decades from multiple sources to provide Finland’s most extensive and comprehensive business and credit information database. Founded in 1961 by a group of Finnish banks, wholesalers and retail chains, Asiakastieto had approximately 23,000 customers as at 31 December 2007. These include financial institutions, telecoms operators, consumer credit companies, wholesalers and retailers as well as debt collection agencies. Net sales for 2007 were Euro 25.7 million, up 24 per cent on the previous year.

Thilo Sautter, Managing Director in Investcorp’s private equity team, commented:

“Asiakastieto has built a leading market position in Finland with deeply entrenched customer relationships, as well as strong connections with key public authorities and data providers. We look forward to supporting Asiakastieto’s very experienced management team to make the most of the continuing organic growth potential it can achieve in Finland, as well as extending its tailored risk management packaged data offerings, and exploring opportunities for international expansion and consolidation.”

Mikko Parjanne, Managing Director of Asiakastieto, added:

“Investcorp has a long track record of being a supportive, value-added investor in mid-market companies in Europe, including the Nordic area, and North America. It is a strong partner to work with us over the next stage of Asiakastieto’s growth, as we continue to excel in our core business, build out related products and expand internationally, both organically and through potential acquisitions.”

The transaction is expected to close in May 2008.