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


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

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.

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