The idea to start a private equity firm, built on the philosophy of the Wallenberg family, is born during a long brainstorming discussion at Erik’s, a restaurant in Stockholm’s Old Town. Around the table sit Conni Jonsson, (then Vice President at Investor AB), his fellow colleague and CEO, Claes Dahlbäck, as well as John Hepburn and Griffith Sexton, both from Morgan Stanley.
After receiving the mandate from the board of Investor AB, Conni Jonsson establishes EQT Partners with the backing of Investor AB, AEA Investors and SEB.
EQT’s first office opens, first located on Arsenalgatan in central Stockholm.
EQT I EUR 349 million
EQT’s first fund primarily targets industrial companies in Sweden and its neighbouring countries.
EQT’s first investment and exit, BRUKENS THERMOTREAT (EQT I, 1995-1997) is a Swedish heat treatment and surface coating company with a leading position in the Nordic markets. EQT I acquired the company in a EUR 20 million buy-out from the Stockholm stock exchange. After providing industrial expertise to management, EQT strengthened the board of directors and fortified its market leading position in the Nordics, subsequently exiting the company 18 months later, making over three and a half times its initial investment.
EQT II EUR 676 million
EQT Danmark EUR 135 million
The first stop on EQT’s international growth journey is not that far away. Following on from the launch of the EQT Danmark fund, EQT opens its first office in Copenhagen, Denmark.
SEB sells its shares in EQT Partners to Investor AB.
EQT Finland EUR 138 million
1999 is a milestone year for the firm. Despite lots of critics telling EQT to stay in its home-turf, the decision is made to establish an office in Munich, Germany – Europe’s largest market and Sweden’s largest trading partner.
The time has come to expand the Nordic presence as EQT crosses the Baltic sea and opens an office in its eastern neighbor; Helsinki, Finland.
STJÄRNTV (EQT I, 1998-1999) is a leading cable television company in Sweden. During EQT I’s ownership the company is successfully repositioned into a broadband Internet services provider, connecting 230,000 homes in Greater Stockholm.
EQT III EUR 2,000 million
EQT III strategic focus lies on medium-sized companies in Northern Europe in a variety of sectors.
Partners at EQT acquires 33 percent of Investor AB’s shares in EQT Partners.
EQT Expansion Capital I EUR 189 million
EQT Expansion Capital I focuses on businesses in need of capital for growth.
EQT IV EUR 2,500 million
After a number of successful investments in Germany, EQT opens an office Frankfurt. Later, it is decided to consolidate all German operations out of Munich and the Frankfurt office closes.
EQT V EUR 4,250 million
EQT Greater China II USD 535 million
EQT Opportunity EUR 372 million
EQT breaks new grounds and opens an office in Hong Kong.
COM HEM (EQT III, 2003-2006) is one of the largest operators in Sweden, offering pay-TV and broadband and the company is a landmark TMT investment for EQT. Under EQT III’s ownership, the company evolves into a leading triple-play provider of TV, broadband Internet and telephone services with more than 1,400,000 Swedish households as customers.
Following the successful acquisition and development of Plantasjen (the leading garden store chain in the Nordics), EQT opens an office in Oslo.
EQT expands its local presence in Asia and opens an office in Shanghai.
EQT strengthens its position in the DACH region with the establishment of the Zurich office.
The Luxembourg office is opened to host EQT’s Fund Management teams and it will later be decided to domicile all future EQT funds here.
SYMRISE (EQT III, 2001-2007) is leading producer of flavors and fragrances and is EQT’s first major investment and a landmark deal in Germany. After combining Symrise with a corporate carve-out from Bayer with a mid-sized peer, Symrise becomes the global number 3/4 player and one of the best performing companies in its industry. The company’s IPO is the largest on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in 2006 and will be described by Chancellor Angela Merkel as an “excellent example of how private equity can contribute to society”. After the divestment, Symrise continues to develop phenomenally well, fortifying EQT’s sustainable and long-term investment strategy.
EQT Infrastructure I EUR 1,167 million
EQT’s first Infrastructure fund is launched and the advisory team is led by Lennart Blecher, today Deputy Managing Partner, and Head of Real Assets, who joins EQT from ABB the year before. At this time, most infrastructure investment funds are focused on acquiring assets with steady dividends from large, low-growth infrastructure companies. EQT is convinced that applying its proven business model with a focus on improving operational performance and accelerating growth, will provide a different approach to infrastructure investing than what was available in the market at that time.
EQT publishes its first Annual Review and launches a more comprehensive website with the ambition to increase transparency towards a broader variety of stakeholders.
A landmark year for EQT as the firm heads west and opens its New York office.
EQT establishes an office in London, right in the heart of Europe’s financial center.
EQT opens a Warsaw office. Later, it is decided to consolidate its operations from the existing European network.
TOGNUM (EQT IV, 2006-2008), today known as Rolls-Royce Power Systems, is a global supplier of diesel engines for highway applications within marine, power generation, defense and industrial sectors. EQT VI acquired the company in a carve out from Daimler and under the ownership period, Tognum’s capex doubled, while experiencing double-digit growth. Moreover, Tognum strengthened its position within the defense and marine sectors and accelerated expansion in primarily the US, consequently leading to a big step-up in EBIDTA. In 2007, Tognum completed a successful IPO on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
Following the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, the banking crisis takes hold and the world enters into a global, financial recession. EQT’s portfolio companies are not immune to the pressure, however, EQT remains firm to its mission as a responsible and long-term owner. The first challenge is to draw up short-term business strategies for each portfolio company to ensure they are stable in this new, uncertain environment. After managing to convince the banks that EQT will not cease in its efforts to grow and develop the companies, a majority agreed to new terms and eventually, growth continued.
EQT Credit is established after EQT sees an advantage to leverage its inhouse financing experience and expertise. Supported by an advisory team based in London, this is an opportunity for EQT to complement the conventional private equity model. Today, the team within this business segment is headed by Andrew Konopelski, Partner and Head of EQT Credit.
EQT becomes signatory to the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investment.
The six Principles cover aspects of environmental, social and governance (ESG) responsibilities and aim to create a more sustainable global financial system – a matter of vital importance to EQT.
EQT formalizes its Responsible Investment Policy, stating the expectation of sustainability standards, including environmental and ethical aspects, in portfolio companies as well as when assessing potential investments.
EQT joins LinkedIn.
EQT strengthens its Asian footprint by establishing an office in Singapore.
EQT Credit I – 321 EUR million
EQT VI EUR 4,815 million
SECURITAS DIRECT (EQT V, 2008-2011) is a leading alarm monitoring company offering subscription-based security services to homes and small businesses. During the ownership period, EQT supported substantial investments in technology, accelerated organic and M&A growth and established presence in Latin America. All in all, the portfolio grew by 11 percent and EBITDA by 20 percent per year.
EQT decides that all future funds will be managed on-shore in Europe as an ambition to increase transparency and facilitate regulatory consistency at all levels of the organization.
EQT Mid Market EUR 1,054 million
EQT Credit II EUR 845 million
EQT Infrastructure II EUR 1,938 million
After seeing an attractive deal flow of medium-sized companies falling outside the Equity funds’ mandate, EQT decides to start a new business line and launches the first EQT Mid Market fund, that will invest primarily in Europe and Asia.
In 2013, the EQT Academy is established with a mission to further strengthen employees’ competences and providing structured training for all levels in the company. In this way, EQT continues to retain, develop and attract the best talent in the industry. Today, EQT Academy is recognized as one of the best internal talent development programs for Investment Advisors in the industry.
EQT implements a new corporate structure where all future activities are to be organized under one holding company, EQT AB, in order to facilitate growth, increase transparency and secure a solid, long-term financial platform. EQT AB is 81 percent owned by Partners of EQT Partners and the remaining 19 percent is owned by Investor AB.
In March, Thomas von Koch becomes Managing Partner and CEO of EQT, with Conni Jonsson entering a role as full-time working Chairman.
EQT files its first UN PRI transparency report, all of which is fully public and posted on EQT’s website.
100 percent of EQT’s greenhouse gas emissions are offset – an annual sustainability action that has remained the same since then.
EQT celebrates 20 years.
EQT strengthens its position in the BeNeLux region following the opening of its Amsterdam office.
EQT VII EUR 6,750 million
EQT Mid Market US USD 726 million
After investing in Spanish car park operator Parkia and fiber provider IslaLink, EQT opens a Madrid office to truly stay “local with locals”.
The investment platform is broadened with the launch of EQT Real Estate. The new business line aims to support direct and indirect controlling investments in real estate assets, portfolios and operating companies with potential for value creation through repositioning, redevelopment, refurbishment and active management.
EQT’s digital team is established with the ambition to scale up the firm’s capabilities within tech and digital. Since then, EQT’s digital team is working with a dual role – supporting the portfolio companies and accelerating EQT’s skills with digital expertise, know-how and more efficient ways of working.
EQT publishes its first Annual Review in Mandarin.
EQT joins Twitter.
EQT Mid Market Asia III USD 800 million
EQT Mid-Market Credit EUR 530 million
EQT Ventures EUR 566 million
EQT launches the Ventures business line, which seeks to back fast-growing, innovative and tech-enabled companies across Europe and support entrepreneurs throughout different stages of growth.
Launch of EQT’s “Power Starter” concept.
EEW ENERGY FROM WASTE (EQT INFRASTRUCTURE II, 2013-2016) is a leading energy-from-waste company with operations in Germany, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Under, Infrastructure II’s ownership, EEW operated 18 plants that produced electricity, district heating and process steam for industrial use, thus playing a vital part in the European sustainable energy infrastructure.
EQT Real Estate I EUR 420 million
EQT Mid Market Europe EUR 1,600 million
EQT Infrastructure III EUR 4,000 million
EQT Credit Opportunities III EUR 1,300 million
EQT consolidates hub in Luxembourg for future domiciliation of funds.
EQT Infrastructure partners with Singapore-based investment company Temasek to explore infrastructure investment opportunities in Southeast Asia, India, Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
In 2017, EQT establishes a small office in Berlin, one of Europe’s leading tech hubs.
ACADEMEDIA (EQT VI, 2010-2017) is a leading education provider, operating a network of more than 600 schools in Sweden, Norway and Germany. During the ownership period, AcadeMedia quadruples in size as it is repositions from a domestic Swedish school provider to the largest independent educational provider in Northern Europe. The firm’s growth includes a green-field roll out of over 50 new units, improved property utilization, strategic add-ons, development of new educational programs as well as improved student results and satisfaction. In 2016, EQT VI lists AcadeMedia on the Stockholm Stock Exchange.
EQT Mid-Market Credit II EUR 2,300 million
EQT VIII EUR 10,750 million
EQT announces the launch of the new business line Public Value, which targets investments that lie within publicly listed mid-market companies with strong positions.
EQT opens a small office in San Francisco to stay close to the action in Silicon Valley.
SPORTRADAR (EQT VI, 2014-2018) is a market leading provider of sports-related live data and services, positioned at the intersection of sports betting and digital entertainment. During the ownership period, Sportradar’s annual sales grew at a compounded annual growth rate of more than 40 percent per year and the employee base by 25 percent per year. EQT also supported several of add-ons and strategic partnerships with the US sports leagues NBA, NFL and NHL, as well as the leading football associations UEFA and FIFA. EQT divests a majority of its ownership in a transaction valuing Sportradar at EUR 2.1 billion, while retaining a small stake in the company.
EQT’s 25-year anniversary.
Christian Sinding becomes CEO and Managing Director of EQT, with Thomas von Koch assuming the role of Deputy Managing Partner and Chairman for EQT Mid Market Asia, EQT Public Value and EQT Ventures.
EQT Infrastructure IV EUR 9,000 million
As part of its an ambition to increase its reach in Italy and Southern Europe, EQT opens an office in Milan.
TO BE CONTINUED… There you have it. A fast-forwarded recap of EQT’s first 25 years. Developing companies across the globe certainly creates a lot of stories. Visit www.eqtpartners.com and sign up for EQT News to make sure that you do not miss out on more exciting development stories, as EQT now enters the next chapter on its growth journey.
All information about portfolio companies in this section refers to time periods when they were owned by EQT funds.