Investing

CPPIB invests $800 million for 20% stake in Hg’s Team.blue

John Graham on June 26. Photographer: Hollie Adams/Bloomberg (Hollie Adams/Bloomberg)

(Bloomberg) -- Canada’s biggest pension fund is buying a 20 per cent stake in Team.blue from investment firm Hg in a deal valuing the technology group at €4.8 billion (US$5.2 billion).

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board will pay about €550 million ($800 million) for the stake, while Hg remains the largest single investor and plans to provide further funds for Team.blue’s growth, according to a statement on Wednesday, confirming an earlier Bloomberg News report.

Jonas Dhaenens and Ali Niknam, Team.blue’s founder and co-founder, will remain as cornerstone investors alongside the management team led by Chief Executive Officer Claudio Corbetta, the statement said. CPPIB is buying the stake from Hg’s Genesis 8 fund, people familiar with the matter have said. Hg will re-invest in the business through its Genesis 10 fund and still own over 35 per cent in the company, the people said.

Team.blue, which employs more than 2,500 people, offers website tools and software services to over 3 million small and medium-sized business and entrepreneurs across 22 European countries. It acquired web service and hosting firm Loopia Group from Axcel earlier this year.

Dhaenens started Belgium-based web hosting company Combell Group in 1999 when he was 16 years old. Two decades later, Team.blue was created through the merger of Combell with two other European hosting companies, TransIP Group and Register Group. Hg first invested in Team.blue in the same year.

A stake sale in Team.blue follows on the heels of one of the strongest weeks for buyouts this year globally. Private equity firms clinched more than US$30 billion of deals in the last week of June, raising hopes for a rebound in M&A following a slow first half of the year.

Hg, which specializes in the buyouts of software and services businesses, has been one of the more active players in recent months. It sold a majority stake in crisis management and business resilience software provider F24 to private equity firm Altor last week, months after it agreed to buy AuditBoard in a deal valuing the risk management software provider at more than US$3 billion including debt.

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