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Q2 2014 Market Update

Marlborough Partners, the independent private equity debt advisory firm, today published its report on the European leveraged finance market in Q2 2014.

The report, analysing data from a number of sources, shows continuing buoyancy in the debt markets, with average loan levels in European buyouts (primary as well as refinancings and recapitalisations) rising and equity contributions reaching their lowest levels since 2007.  The large market saw significant movement towards covenant-lite structures and a rapid resurgence of second lien issuance, whilst the mid-market saw significant growth in all bullet structures.

Across Europe, where the total private equity loan volume in Q2 was €22.3bn, average senior and total leverage multiples reached 4.8x and 5.0x respectively (as against 4.4x and 4.7x in the whole of 2013). Average equity contributions were 43.6% but reached 42.0% in secondary buyouts, the lowest level since 2007.

In the UK, loan volumes totaled €8.3bn, a substantial increase from the €1.6bn recorded in Q1 and the €5.3bn in Q2 2013.  This was driven in part by a small number of large issuances, including Saga and Virgin Media.

Although refinancings and recapitalisations represented a smaller share of European loan volumes in Q2 (for the first time since Q4 2012), down 27% from the same period in 2013, activity remained strong.  H1 2014 has seen 66 refinancings and recapitalisations, as against 62 in H1 2013.

UK spreads continued their downward trend averaging 423bps in the second quarter, even lower than the first quarter’s 427 bps, and the lowest average seen since 2008.  The iTraxx Europe Cross-Over index, a key indicator of market sentiment, continued to tighten in the quarter, settling at 235 bps.

As highlighted in Marlborough’s Q1 report, the European market is showing significant movement towards cov-lite structures.  In the first half of 2014, US cov-lite issuance accounted for 62% of all institutional new issues. European cov-lite deals recorded a high of 14% of all outstanding loans now lacking maintenance covenants, compared with 6% at the end of 2013.  Cov-lite issuance in Europe has now reached over €10bn, eclipsing 2007’s level of €8.1 bn.

In addition, the large market experienced a resurgence of second lien debt.  Thirteen second lien facilities were issued this year up to July 14; there were none in 2013. Although these deals only account for 4% of total institutional loan volume, all were syndicated deals, providing optimal pricing for borrowers.

Marlborough Managing Partner, David Parker, said: “The interesting thing about the market at the moment is the blending of US and European terms in the large market which is creating increasingly favourable terms for borrowers. At the same time and given the evolution in the large market, some of this is filtering into the mid-market and this, combined with significant competition from debt funds, is resulting in sponsor-friendly terms for deals of all sizes.”

Q1 2014 Market Update

Marlborough Partners, the independent private equity debt advisory firm, today published its report on the European leveraged finance market in Q1 2014.

The report, analysing data from a number of sources, shows that while UK leveraged loan volumes fell in Q1, to €1.6bn from €1.8bn in the previous quarter and €2.7bn same period last year, leverage levels in deals continued to rise. The average total leverage in UK private equity deals concluded in Q1 reached 5.2x compared with 4.8x in the previous quarter. Across the European mid-market (deals with debt below €250m), the average total leverage in Q1 edged up only slightly to 4.5x from 4.4x in the whole year 2013.

Refinancings and recapitalisations continued to drive European volumes.  Refinancings accounted for 44% of Q1’s €8.5bn sponsor-backed loans, a record high, up from 32% in the full year 2013.  Dividend recapitalisations accounted for 15% of the total, up slightly on 14% in the year 2013.   Cross-border financing activity reached a record high of €20.7bn both within Europe and between the US and Europe.

Covenant-lite issuance in Europe from US investors in Q1 stood at 25% of institutional loan volumes (as opposed to 60% in the US).  Margin compression has encouraged US investors to look to Europe for enhanced yields, but European market data suggests that the relative value gap is now narrowing.  True covenant-lite loan issuance from European investors remains virtually non-existent.

UK spreads continued to fall in the first quarter of 2014 averaging 427 bps on institutional loans, the lowest average seen since 2008.  The iTraxx Europe Cross-Over index, a key indicator of market sentiment, continued to tighten in the quarter, settling at 290 bps, in line with the end of 2013.

European high-yield volumes reached €19bn in Q1 2014, the second busiest quarter on record, with double-B rated transactions accounted for the bulk of the total, at 52% a post-crunch high. However, single B issuance and sponsor-backed issuance both declined compared with Q4 2013, down by 25% and 49% respectively.

Marlborough Managing Partner, William Allen, comments: “The reduction in single B and sponsor-backed high yield issuance in the quarter was due to GPs being able to exit some investments through the public markets and, for mergers and acquisitions, opting for bank debt, given lower pricing and less restrictive pre-payment penalties.”

“If the gap between European and US yields is disappearing, we anticipate this will reduce US investor flows into European covenant-lite issues. Extremely long settlement periods on European loan trades and comprehensive transfer restrictions are also playing a part in dampening US liquidity. The market waits to see how this is going to play out.”

Q4 2013 Market Update

Marlborough Partners, the independent private equity debt advisory firm, today published its report on the leveraged finance market in Q4 2013 and an ‘end of term report’ on the full year for European leveraged loans and high yield bonds.

The report, analysing data from a number of sources, shows that UK leveraged loan volumes fell in Q4 to €1.8bn (€4bn in Q3), but that leverage levels spiked in the quarter taking average total leverage on UK deals to 4.8x for 2013, up from 4.5x for of the preceding nine months.

The iTraxx Europe Cross-Over index, a key indicator of market sentiment, continued to tighten in the quarter, falling below 300 bps, down from over 500bps at the end of Q2.

2013 was the strongest year since 2007, with €67bn of senior leveraged loans issued in Western Europe, up from €29bn in 2012. This was largely driven by a significant increase in German volumes, which accounted for 36% of the total, with the UK at 24% and France at 12%.  The UK’s total of €13.7bn in 2013 was the highest since 2008, though still well below that of 2007’s €39bn.

2013 also saw a surge in Euro-US cross border activity at €47bn in the year, compared with €29bn for 2012; the majority of the total (€34bn) was syndicated in the US.

CLO issuance finally took off in 2013 driven by declining AAA paper costs (thus reducing liability funding and enhancing returns on equity).  From zero in 2012, 2013 saw €7.4bn raised from 20 vehicles.  This, together with loan repayments rising, as a result of more portfolio companies being sold and increased demand from non-CLO institutions, has boosted capacity in an already liquid and increasingly competitive market.

Marlborough Managing Partner, Jonathan Guise, comments: “Through leveraged loans and high yield bonds, sponsors paid themselves over €6bn in dividends in 2013, more than twice the amount paid over the 2008-2012 period.  This has attracted some negative commentary, but a sense of perspective is important.  Whilst there were a few eye-catching exceptions, the average dividend recap in 2013 paid 42.5% of the initial equity contribution three years after the original buyout.  Most of these portfolio companies have weathered one of the toughest trading environments for many years, so should be in good shape.”

On the back of a yield-hungry investor base and a period of improving macroeconomic stability, European high yield bond issuance reached record levels in 2013, with total issuance of €70.4bn, significantly outstripping 2010’s previous record of €44.4bn.  Of this total, nearly €26bn was issued for private equity backed deals, including €6.4bn for 13 leveraged buyouts.

Investor appetite for smaller deals strengthened, making high yield more accessible to the private equity mid-market.  In 2013 there were 27 deals of below €200m, of which 10 were below €150m.

The year also saw a steady decline in yields, falling to record levels in Q4 of 7.17% for B rated bonds and 4.34% for BBs.

Another key mid-market trend witnessed in 2013 was a rise in the number of Unitranche financings to 24 from 9 in 2012, reflecting a growing understanding and acceptance of the product amongst European sponsors alongside reducing Unitranche pricing, due to increased competition from providers.

Jonathan Guise concludes:  “We expect to see downward fee and margin pressure on both bank debt and Unitranche continuing into at least early / mid 2014.  We also anticipate banks being increasingly prepared to underwrite mid-market deals and to increase their hold levels to combat declining loan books.

“The extent to which European borrowers look for US financings this year will depend on the relative competitiveness of European investors, which appear to be settling into a covenant-loose world for large deals.  To date ‘cov-lite’ loans have only been accepted on a cross border basis, but it is just a matter of time before we see a fully European ‘cov-lite’ syndication.”

Q3 2013 Market Update

Marlborough Partners, the independent leveraged debt advisory firm, today published its report on the leveraged finance market for private equity primary transactions and portfolio company refinancings in Q3 2013.

The quarterly snapshot, analysing data from a number of sources shows that, whereas across Europe as a whole loan volumes fell to €14.5bn from €24bn in Q2 (largely due to the August slowdown in many continental countries), in the UK alone, loan volumes remained healthy at €4.5bn, similar to the €4.7bn in Q2 and significantly above the €1.2bn in Q3 2012.  In the first three quarters, loan volumes for UK deals were €11.9bn, compared with €5.5bn in the same period last year.

Despite the summer blip, market conditions for LBOs across Europe remained buoyant, with average senior and total leverage levels reaching 4.4x and 4.7x respectively. Average equity contributions fell to 41.7%, the lowest level since 2007.

Dividend recapitalisation loan volumes for the year to September 30th reached a higher level than at any time since 2007 at €3.3bn, with a further €4.6bn raised through bonds, resulting in €5.3bn of dividends being paid out to GP-managed funds.  This resulted in GPs being able to return 46% of the original equity input to investments an average of 3.4 years after those investments were made.

Refinancings and dividend recapitalisation loan volumes accounted for 49% of European private equity loans in the year to September 30th, as opposed to 46% for primary investments. This is the first time the European leverage loan market has seen this and highlights the lack of primary deal flow witnessed in Europe year-to-date.

The iTraxx Europe Cross-Over index, a key indicator of pricing expectations for sub-investment grade risk, steadily tightened to under 400bps having been at over 500bps at the end of Q2. European high yield issuance continued its upward movement, reaching €54.9bn in the year to date, which is a record figure for the first nine months of a year.

The report also looks at US-European cross-border lending, which has risen to €19.2bn in the year to September 30th, compared with €6.5bn for the whole of 2012.

These transactions are becoming increasing prominent in larger European private equity deals, with GPs taking advantage of more borrower-friendly terms in the US, a breadth of available liquidity and better pricing.   Leverage-equity ratios on US financing are also attractive, with the average leverage for cross-border deals in the year to September 30th standing at 5.2x and average equity contribution at 30%, compared with averages of 4.7x and 42% respectively for European-financed buyouts. Cov-lite loans are more typical in US financings; most US-Europe cross-border LBOs to date this year have been structured in this way.

In Marlborough’s view, successful financing from the US for European deals is dependent on those deals being large enough to be financially liquid both sides of the Atlantic, with – in most cases – the company being financed generating a proportion of its revenues in the US.  Furthermore, the financing raised should ideally mirror the currencies of the company’s cash flow, thus avoiding expensive foreign exchange issues.

Marlborough Partner, Markus Ehrler, comments: “This quarter shows two related trends: a continuing increase in dividend recapitalisations and competitive pressure from US sources of capital on European lenders.

“Although dividend recapitalisations attracted negative publicity in the run up to the financial crisis, most of the companies now recapitalising have survived the most difficult three or four years that many have ever experienced and will therefore be pretty robust businesses, capable of servicing higher levels of debt.  Furthermore, average debt-equity ratios, while creeping up, are still nowhere near the average ratio seen at the top of the market in 2007 of 66%/34%.  Nevertheless, it is important for all of us to keep an eye on the sustainability of this model.

“The US financing market is attracting many European issuers and we expect more companies of appropriate size to follow, despite the current political tensions within the US.  One possible consequence of this competition may be European lenders entertaining looser covenants – something that will delight many GPs.”

Marlborough’s recent transactions include the refinancing of Exponent-owned Trainline and Equistone’s acquisition of Whitworths.

Marlborough Partners Expands Team to Eleven and Moves to Larger Offices

Marlborough Partners, the independent leveraged debt advisory firm, has added two new members to its team.  Taddeo Vender has joined as Associate Director and David Schulte as Analyst, bringing the team to eleven.  This follows the recent appointment of Markus Ehrler as Partner to lead Marlborough’s new office in Frankfurt.

Taddeo Vender previously worked in KKR’s Capital Markets team, sourcing leverage and advising on capital structures for private equity investments, company refinancings and exits across Europe, raising more than €3bn in loans, high yield bonds and equity capital.  Transactions in which he was involved include the acquisition financing for UK subsea services provider, Acteon; the high yield financing for German forklift manufacturer KION; and the super senior revolving credit facility ‘upsize’ for the Spanish aviation services company, Inaer.  Earlier in his career, Taddeo worked at Credit Suisse in the Leveraged Finance Origination team, covering financial sponsors.

David Schulte previously worked, after internships at DZ Bank and Doughty Hanson while taking his degree and MSc, as an analyst in Macquarie’s debt advisory and leveraged finance team in London, advising and providing debt capital to corporates and to financial sponsor-backed transactions.

To accommodate its expansion, Marlborough Partners has recently moved to larger offices in The Prow, just off Glasshouse Street, W1.

Marlborough Advises Xafinity on the Staple for Xafinity Consulting

Equiniti Group sells Xafinity Consulting to CBPE Capital

The Equiniti Group is pleased to announce that it has reached agreement to sell its Xafinity Consulting business to CBPE Capital LLP. The transaction remains subject to certain conditions, including regulatory approvals, and is expected to close during the first quarter of 2013. Terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

The Group was created in 2010 by bringing together the Xafinity pension administration, software and consulting business with the outsourcing and share registration provider Equiniti. Its forward strategy is to develop its Business Process Services (BPS) offering under the Equiniti Group brand with a focus on larger scale complex administration and financial processing contracts. The Group’s market-focused divisions are: Pensions Solutions, Shareholder Solutions and Commercial Solutions.

The sale of Xafinity Consulting is consistent with this strategy to refine the Group’s core focus. Xafinity Consulting, comprising Actuarial, Pensions, Healthcare and Employee Benefit Consulting and administration as well as, Self Invested Pensions and Independent Trusteeship, will continue to operate under the Xafinity brand. Paymaster and Claybrook remain within the Equiniti Group.

The pension market continues to be central to the Equiniti Group’s BPS strategy. It currently administers the pension benefits of nearly three million scheme members, pays over 30% of UK pensioners and supports over 10 million pension scheme members with its software applications.

In April 2012 the Equiniti Group’s Paymaster business became the private sector partner for the mutual joint venture, MyCSP, administering pensions for 1.5 million Civil Service Pension Scheme members.

The Equiniti Group is committed to further invest in opportunities to extend and enhance its service range. Recent acquisitions included peterevans – leading provider of technology solutions for the financial services industry – and the Corporate and Employee Services from NatWest Stockbrokers.

Wayne Story, Equiniti Group Chief Executive said: “Our strategy is to develop the Equiniti Group as a market leading specialist Business Process Services provider. Having considered the strategic alternatives, we believe that separating the Xafinity Consulting business now is the right course of action for both Xafinity Consulting and the wider Equiniti Group, enabling each to a have a clear focus. We fully expect both businesses to continue to work in close partnership in key areas of mutual interest in the pensions market.”

Robert Birmingham, Managing Director of Xafinity Consulting said: “Xafinity Consulting will continue to concentrate on its existing markets within which we have significant ambitions to develop and expand our range of services and products. The expertise, funding and supportive approach of our new owners will set us up well to achieve these ambitions to the benefit of our clients and our business.”

Marlborough Advises Advent International on KMD Acquisition

15 October 2012 – Advent International “Advent”, the global private equity firm, today announced that it has agreed to acquire KMD “the Company”, one of Denmark’s leading IT services and software companies, from EQT and ATP. Advent’s investment is subject to customary regulatory approval and is expected to complete by year-end

Founded in 1972, the Company has a long track record as a trusted partner to the Danish public sector. KMD is a market leader in innovative software, services, and business process solutions for the delivery of mission critical public sector services in Denmark. KMD’s technology and service platform administers and processes, amongst other things, welfare benefits, private and public sector salaries, and local government finances. Each year KMD’s systems process and disburse billions of kroner, equivalent to around 25% of Denmark’s GDP, and help make the Danish welfare state one of the most efficient in the world.

The Company has recently launched an innovative range of internet offerings focusing on digital education and e-healthcare. KMD’s operations extend across four locations – Copenhagen, Århus, Odense and Aalborg. In 2011 the Company reported revenue of DKK 4,266 million.

Commenting on the acquisition, Fred Wakeman, Managing Partner of Advent International, said:

“We are delighted to partner with the KMD team. KMD has a long history of growth and innovation and our investment will allow the Company to increase the pace and scale of its growth and ongoing operational excellence.”

John Woyton, Director of Advent International, commented:

“KMD is a market leader in Denmark, one of the most advanced governments in terms of IT adoption and eGovernment initiatives. We believe that KMD has world-class solutions and that the Company has strong potential to grow internationally. We are committed to supporting this unique and critical business and look forward to working in partnership with the management team to grow an even more successful business.”

Lars Monrad-Gylling, CEO of KMD, said:

“We are extremely excited that Advent International sees such potential in KMD. KMD has a solid market position, and a unique insight into and competence in delivering software solutions to the public sector. The new ownership is a great opportunity for us to strengthen our position. When KMD grows and develops, it has a positive impact on all our customers.”

Having invested in over 50 technology companies over the past 25 years, Advent is one of the leading investors in the global technology sector. In addition, with a dedicated Nordic team and a 20 year history of investment in the Nordics, Advent is a proven investor in the region.

Advent was advised on the transaction by Credit Suisse, Deloitte, Marlborough Partners, McKinsey & Company, and Weil, Gotshal & Manges.

Marlborough Advises Motion Equity Partners on Leveraged Club Refinancing

Motion Equity Partners announced a new equity investment in Tokheim, alongside the FSI

Motion has increased its investment in the Tokheim Group (the”Group”) as part of a transaction incorporating a new investor, the Fonds Stratégique d’Investissement. The transaction is aimed at financing projects to develop the Group.

Motion Equity Partners (“MEP”), one of the leading European private equity firms, announced a diversification of the shareholder base of Tokheim which saw the Fonds Stratégique d’Investissement (“FSI”) take up an equity stake. Together MEP and the FSI will continue the Group’s ambitious growth policy while completing the bank refinancing.  Motion and the FSI have together invested approximately €80 million which will enable Tokheim actively to pursue its development through organic growth and acquisitions in promising geographies.

Tokheim, headquartered in Paris, enjoys a key market position, offering a one-stop-shop solution of fuel dispensers for service station operators. With a turnover of € 643 million in 2012, the group provides fuel distributors with a complete range of products and services, covering equipment (dispensers, systems), maintenance, installation and project management. Tokheim serves three main client groups: oil companies, hypermarket and supermarket distributors and independent fuel retailers.

Tokheim is well established across Europe, where it enjoys an undisputed market leader position. The company is also a leading player in Asia, with a strong position in China where it has vigorously developed itself in the past five years, as well as in Africa and the Middle East. Tokheim has factories in the United Kingdom, China and India and employs more than 5,000 people across the world.

This new equity investment provided by Motion and the FSI, along with the simultaneous bank refinancing, occurs in a period when the business is developing at a high pace and will support its continued growth through:
–    acquisitions in emerging countries;
–    development of greenfield projects abroad; and
–    strategic joint venture with third parties, where Tokheim can leverage on the third party’s local knowledge and expand its products and services.

Cedric Rays, Partner at Motion Equity Partners commented: “Tokheim Group is a world leader in fuel distribution. It has managed to grow worldwide through excellence in technology and proficiency of the entire value chain from fuel distributors to their maintenance, from gas stations software to payment systems. Motion Equity Partners is pleased to continue supporting Tokheim Group in its ambitious development projects.”

Baudoin de la Tour, CEO of Tokheim added: “In an uncertain financial environment, it is important for clients, employees, and for the management team of Tokheim to strengthen our financial structure and secure our long-term resources to ensure our continued expansion. We are pleased to welcome the FSI as a shareholder alongside Motion and encouraged by their trust and significant investment.”

The MEP team is composed of Patrick Eisenchteter, Cédric Rays and Anthony Baudoin.

For any additional information, please contact :

Cédric Rays    Motion Equity Partners    +33 1 53 83 79 16

Edited by Motion Equity Partners.  Motion Equity Partners SA is authorised and regulated by the Autorité des Marchés Financiers.  Motion Equity Partners SA acts as an investment advisor for its client Motion Fund II (GP) Limited which is managing Motion Fund II (GP) LP, managing Motion II ‘A’ LP and Motion II ‘B’ LP, (altogether “Motion Fund II”), which have invested in Cognetas II ‘A’ FCPR and Cognetas II ‘B’ FCPR.  Cognetas II ‘A’ FCPR and Cognetas II ‘B’ FCPR are managed by Motion Equity Partners SA.  The invested funds have been contributed by Cognetas II ‘A’ FCPR and Cognetas II ‘B’ FCPR. In this release, the information concerning Motion refer to Cognetas II ‘A’ FCPR and Cognetas II ‘B’ FCPR, or, if necessary, to Motion Equity Partners SA and/or to entities related to Motion Fund II.

Motion Equity Partners is a company specialized in advising private equity investments, based in Paris and Milan. Motion Equity Partners advises funds totaling over € 2 billion. The investment team has extensive experience investing in the following sectors: business services, consumer goods, specialist retail, leisure and health.
The most recent investments of Motion Equity Partners include Arcaplanet, the leading Italian specialist retailer chain of pet food and accessories, and Fullsix, a leading independent agency in the digital marketing and communication fields in Europe

Marlborough Advises Equistone on Leveraged Loan and High Yield Staple

Equistone sells Global Blue to Silver Lake Partners and Partners Group in a 1bn transaction

 

Exit takes total capital returned to investors to approximately 60% of Fund III

Equistone Partners Europe, (“Equistone”) one of Europe’s leading mid-market private equity investors, today announces the sale of Global Blue (or the “Company”), the international provider of travel-related payment services, to Silver Lake Partners and Partners Group in a €1bn transaction. The sale of Global Blue will take total capital returned to investors to approximately 60% of Fund III. Formed in 2007, Fund III has made 38 investments and has already had eight realisations.

Founded as Sweden Tax Free Shopping in 1980, Global Blue is one of the world’s leading providers of traveller-related services including tax refunds for travellers on purchases when shopping overseas, dynamic currency conversion services which enable customers to pay in their home currency at the point of sale, and marketing services for merchants. Global Blue is headquartered in Switzerland with a presence in 41 countries and approximately 1,400 employees worldwide.

Equistone backed the €360m management buyout of Global Blue (then Global Refund) in September 2007. During Equistone’s investment period, the Company has shown impressive growth, doubling revenues and increasing EBITDA from c.€35m to €97m.

Equistone worked alongside the management team to develop the business by:

– Targeting high growth areas outside the EU with c.70% of revenues generated through travellers from emerging markets, particularly China and Russia

– Enhancing the current management team with the appointment of CFO Philipp Manser (formerly of Hotelplan and Roche) and Chief Marketing Officer Arjen Kruger (formerly of MasterCard)

– Digitising various stages of the tax free shopping transaction to increase efficiency and offer a simpler process for customers

– Developing a highly-skilled sales force providing assistance and training to merchants and their staff to cater for travellers using Global Blue’s tax refund service

– Centralising and improving the efficieny of Global Blue’s processing capabilities

Owen Clarke, Chief Investment Officer at Equistone, commented:

“In backing Global Blue in 2007, we identified a business with excellent management and compelling opportunities to improve its offering to international travellers and merchants. We are proud to have worked alongside Per Setterberg and the team to grow a business which has performed so strongly, even through the economic downturn, due to its powerful network of merchants and refund points allowing travellers to make significant savings on their overseas shopping.”

Per Setterberg, President and Chief Executive of Global Blue, commented:

“Equistone has provided tremendous support in developping Global Blue over the past five years during which we have successfully expanded globally and doubled the number of transactions handled to 27 million annually. We are in a good position to take advantage of the long term growth trends in both international travel and spending on luxury goods under new ownership.”

Advisers for Equistone on the transaction included:

Financial Advisor – J.P. Morgan and Evercore Partners

Debt Advisor – Marlborough Partners

Legal Advisor – Clifford Chance

Vendor Due Diligence – PwC (Financial and tax), LEK (commercial), Clifford Chance (legal), Bird & Bird (IP)

Advisers for Management on the transaction included:

Financial Advisor – Smith Square Partners

Legal Advisor – Baker & McKenzie

ENDS

For more information:

Merlin: 0207 726 8400

Rachel Thomas 0778 750 4447

Zinka Bozovic 0776 925 5380

Notes to editors:

About Equistone Partners Europe

– Equistone Partners Europe Limited is an independent investment firm owned and managed by the former executives of Barclays Private Equity

– Equistone acquired the management company of Barclays Private Equity from Barclays Capital, the investment banking division of Barclays Bank PLC, in November 2011

– The Company is one of Europe’s leading investors in mid-market buyouts with a successful track record spanning over 30 years, with more than 350 transactions completed in this period

– Equistone has a strong focus on change of ownership deals and aims to ivnest between €25m and €125m of equity in businesses with enterprise values of between €50m and €300m

– The Company has a team of 33 investment professionals operating across France, Germany, Switzerland and the UK, investing as a strategic partner alongside management teams

– Equistone is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority

– For further information, please visit www.equistonepe.com

About Global Blue

In the year ended March 31, 2012, Global Blue handled approximately 20 million tax free shopping transactions and approximately 7.3 million dynamic currency conversion transactions around the globe. Additionally, the Company has established and maintained an extensive network of merchants and acquiring banks with approximately 85,000 merchant contracts covering over 270,000 retail outlets, shopping brands and hotels and partnerships with 18 acquiring banks worldwide.