Apax Partners to Sell a Majority Shareholding in Marlink to Providence Equity Partners

Providence Equity Partners (“Providence”), a premier private equity firm that specialises in the media, communications, education, software and services industries, has agreed to acquire a majority shareholding in Marlink from Apax Partners SAS (“Apax”), a leading European private equity firm based in Paris. The transaction results in an enterprise value for Marlink Group of approximately $1.4bn; further details were not disclosed. 

Apax, who maintain deep conviction in the Company’s growth prospects, will retain a significant minority shareholding. Marlink’s management team and world leading investment house Ardian have also committed to minority interests.

Headquartered in Paris and Oslo, Marlink is a world leading Satellite Service Operator (“SSO”) offering business-critical intelligent hybrid networks and digital solutions to empower the remote operations of a wide range of maritime, enterprise, energy, humanitarian and government customers around the world.

“Marlink offers a comprehensive set of smart network solutions combining the entire spectrum of satcom and terrestrial connectivity, IT, Cloud, cyber security and IoT managed services.” said Karim Tabet, Senior Managing Director at Providence. “We are pleased to be partnering with such an outstanding business, and, together with Apax and Ardian, we look forward to supporting Erik Ceuppens and his team as Marlink continues to be a market leader and seeks to capitalize on increased demand for higher bandwidth connectivity and digital solutions.”

Michaël Vervisch, Managing Director at Providence, added: “We have been impressed by the Company’s transformation into a branded broadband provider leveraging its own hybrid network and capturing scale benefits by taking a leadership role in the industry. Furthermore, we see significant future growth opportunities, including through offering value added digital solutions.”

Bertrand Pivin, Managing Partner at Apax Partners, said: “Apax Partners first invested in Marlink 15 years ago. Under the leadership of Erik Ceuppens, the company transformed its business model, tripled its revenues and multiplied its EBITDA by 10. It emerged as the worldwide leading Satellite Service Operator, first in the maritime sector, and now, with the recent acquisition of ITC Global, in the enterprise sector. The 10,000-strong remote broadband terminals installed worldwide will serve as a springboard to design and deliver the much-needed digital services which Marlink’s direct customers are seeking for their business-critical operations. We believe Providence is the partner of choice to conduct the next stage of this extraordinary journey. Apax is keen to roll-over part of its investment and hold a significant fraction of the share capital, in order to continue to back this remarkable company.”

Erik Ceuppens, CEO of Marlink, said: “This important shareholder transaction is a reflection of their belief in our company’s strength and future growth potential. Marlink has become a leader in B2B satcom solutions through significant organic growth and a series of well-targeted strategic acquisitions. With our Smart Network strategy, Marlink is fully focused on supporting the rapid digitization of our customers’ remote operations and on making them more sustainable. We are delighted to partner with premier private equity investors Providence and Ardian as our new majority shareholders and to benefit from the continued support of Apax, our investor-of-the-first-hour. With our solid investor backing, management team and employees, we form a powerful force to take Marlink Group to the next level.”

Alexandre Motte, Head of Ardian Co-Investment said: “We have been impressed by Marlink’s unique position in the B2B satcom industry and the accomplishments of Erik Ceuppens and his team. We are thrilled to participate in this new chapter of Marlink’s development, supported by increasing connectivity and service needs as well as further growth opportunities, notably through acquisitions. We thank Marlink, Providence and Apax for their trust and look forward to supporting this partnership.”

The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2022, subject to customary and regulatory approvals.

_______________________

Transaction teams

Providence
Providence: Karim Tabet, Michael Vervisch, Stefano Bosio, Tarik Ben Brahim
M&A Advisors: UBS (Christian Lesueur, Abhishek Dhacholia)
Capital Markets Advisory: DC Advisory (Ciara O’Neill)
Commercial DD: Arthur D. Little (Guillaume Picq, Matteo Ainardi)
Financial DD: FTI Consulting (Aneesh Maloo, Thomas Rawlinson)
Legal: Paul Hastings (Arthur de Baudry d’Asson), Allen & Overy (Vanessa Xu)
Tax:KPMG (Saul Russo)

Apax
Apax: Bertrand Pivin, Vincent Colomb, Arnaud Vigier
M&A Advisors: Goldman Sachs (Céline Méchain, Thomas Gagnez), BNP Paribas (Sylvina Mayer, Marc Walbaum, Claire Ramaharobandro)
Commercial DD: BCG (Franck Luisada, Benjamin Sarfati)
Financial DD : Deloitte (Leonardo Clavijo, Lisa Lauv, Christele Fraisse)
Corporate: Weil, Gotshal & Manges (Alexandre Duguay, Guillaume Bonnard)
Legal / Social: Mazars (Jérôme Gertler)
Tax: Taj (Olivier Venzal)

(source)