2014 Nordic Exit Analysis

To complement our 2014 Nordic Funding Analysis, we thought it was only right we also produced an analysis looking at the exits from the region in 2014.

We tracked a total of 54 exits, 35 of those were undisclosed, but the 19 disclosed deals amounted to an impressive $17.11B.

When did they happen?

The timing of the deals was very much in sync with Europe as a whole, with Q1 seeing the least, Q2 the most and then Q3 and Q4 being consistent with each other just behind Q2.

What were they?

As would be expected, the majority of the exits (89%) were clear-cut acquisitions, with just the one merger (Conemtech merging with Qulsar) and five IPO’s (Zendesk, King, Just-Eat, Zalaris, CxSense).

Where did they take place?

Denmark claimed the most exits from the region (18) followed by Finland with 15, and Sweden 13. Norway witnessed 8 exits, while Iceland had just the one, with Datamarket being acquired by Qlik.

Where were the buyers from?

Nearly half of the acquisitions (45%) involved American companies being the purchasers, with Nordic companies buying domestically for 21% of the deals. Other Countries that acquired more than one Nordic startup in 2014 include the U.K, Switzerland, Japan and The Netherlands.

Facebook were the most prolific buyer of Nordic Startups, purchasing Finnish Moves and Pryte and Sweden’s 13th Lab (all undisclosed). Cisco were the other company to buy Nordic more than once, purchasing Denmark’s Assemblage (undisclosed) and Sweden’s Tail-f Systems ($175M).

What were the biggest exits?

King’s IPO blew everybody else out of the water, with an eye-watering $7.09B valuation. The other billion dollar exits were the acquisitions of Denmark’s Nets by Bain Capital ($3.1B) and Microsoft’s acquisition of Sweden’s Mojang ($2.5B) while Just-Eat’s IPO came at a valuation of $2.3B. Zendesk have subsequently gone on to pass a billion dollar valuation but the initial IPO valued them around $630M. Vizrt ($370M), Momondo ($210M), Conax ($187M), Tail-f ($175M)  and Area9 ($150M) make up the rest of the Top 10.

In summary, the exit landscape looks very promising in the Nordics, with household names like Facebook (Moves, Pryte, 13th Lab), Google (drawElements), Microsoft (Mojang) and Cisco (Assemblage, Tail-f Systems) all looking to shop in the region for talent and product to strengthen their own offerings, it will be interesting to see if this was an exceptional year for exits in The Nordics, or whether this is a beginning of a trend. One things for sure, we will be tracking all the exits again in 2015, and will provide as much insight and analyses as we can on the Nordic exit landscape.

If you enjoyed or found value in this post then you can support The Nordic Web by becoming a member (you can pay whatever you like and you get members-only benefits such as this!)

Neil S W Murray founded The Nordic Web in 2014 in order to provide the Nordics with the quality coverage it deserves. As well as being Founding Editor of The Nordic Web, Neil is also an active community builder in the region, participating in a number of initiatives, and has previously worked for Tech.eu.