EQT Partners has agreed to sell robotics and software provider AutoStore to Thomas H Lee Partners (THL).
The deal values the company at €1.6bn, according to a report by Unquote sister publication Mergermarket.
Members of the company's management team will retain a minority stake in the company and EQT will also retain a 10% holding. THL will take a seat on the board in addition to EQT, which will also continue to have a representative on the board.
During EQT's holding period, the company expanded internationally, opening US headquarters, and launched a new line of robotics called Black Line. The company has quadrupled revenues and doubled its employee base, according to a statement.
AutoStore was an EQT VII portfolio company, which was 88% deployed as of December 2018. The fund has already exited its investments in PIAB and partially exited from Bilfinger Real Estate Services.
AutoStore is expected to generate revenues of NOK 2bn in 2019.
EQT acquired a majority stake in AutoStore in 2016 using its €6.75bn EQT VII vehicle. The deal valued the company at around €500m, representing an EBITDA multiple of 18.8x, according to Unquote Data. The vendors were minority shareholders and Jakob Hatteland Holding, which held 67% of shares and retained 9% following the deal.
Headquartered in Nedre Vats, Norway, AutoStore is a robotics and software company providing automation technology to warehouses and distribution facilities in more than 28 countries. It counts Puma, Best-Buy and Boozt as clients. Founded in 1996, the company operates offices in the US, the UK, Germany, Poland and France.
EQT Partners – Anders Misund (partner).
Thomas H Lee Partners – Jim Carlisle (managing director).
AutoStore – Karl Johan Lier (CEO, president).
Equity – Morgan Stanley (M&A); Kirkland & Ellis (legal); PwC (financial due diligence, tax); Marsh (insurance due diligence).
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