EQT Mid Market Europe fund has entered into an agreement to acquire a majority stake in visual content business Freepik Company from its founders and management team.
Freepik's management team, including the co-founders, Alejandro and Pablo Blanes and Joaquin Cuenca, will continue to lead the company and will retain a minority stake in the business.
Founded in 2010 and headquartered in Málaga, Spain, Freepik provides services that help 32 million monthly consumers, to create more than 10 million graphic designs.
The transaction is expected to close, subject to customary approvals, in June 2020. The value of the deal was not disclosed.
Allen & Overy acted as legal advisors to EQT, with Freshfields advising on tax, BCG advising on commercial matters, KPMG on financial matters and LionTree on M&A aspects. Drake Star Partners, Deloitte and Callol, Coca & Asociados acted as advisors to Freepik.
According to a statement,Freepik’s business model is based on a “unique, data-driven approach to content sourcing and creation, leveraging consumer demand insights from five billion downloads to date”.
The company, which operates under the Freepik, Flaticon and SlidesGo brands, has 20 million registered users who are supported by a network of over 450 in-house freelance graphic designers and an external contributor base.
EQT will support Freepik by investing in the company's proprietary content library, and its UX and tech platform, including artificial intelligence and tool integration capabilities.
In addition, EQT will support Freepik plans to further penetrate existing markets, such as the US and Asia.
Carlos Santana, managing director at EQT Partners and head of EQT private equity in Spain, said: "Freepik is the leading freemium player and go-to platform for online creators and functional users. EQT looks forward to supporting Freepik's continued growth trajectory and its plans to further cement the company's global leading market position. The acquisition of Freepik demonstrates EQT's long-term commitment to Spain, even in tougher times, and the ambition to support local businesses in becoming global."
Joaquin Cuenca, co-founder of Freepik, said: "We are very excited to partner with EQT and look forward to working together. EQT's digital and sector expertise, global platform, combined with local presence across Europe, the US and Asia, as well as its extensive network of advisors, will be key to our future success and of great value for the strengthening of our management team."
Alejandro Blanes, co-founder of Freepik, said: "We couldn't be more thrilled at the prospect of partnering with EQT. They have a proven track record of helping founder led and tech companies, like ours, successfully take the next step of their journey. We have always had the ambition of leaving a positive mark in the creative industry; we are now better placed than ever to deliver on that."
Victor Englesson, partner at EQT Partners and investment advisor to EQT Mid Market, said: "We are impressed by Freepik's achievements and EQT is proud to partner with its co-founders to help achieve its full potential."
EQT is a global investment organization with more than €62 billion in raised capital and around €40 billion in assets under management across 19 active funds. EQT funds have portfolio companies in Europe, Asia-Pacific and North America with total sales of more than €27 billion and approximately 159,000 employees.