Q1 2015 saw 21 exits for Nordic Tech companies, totalling a (disclosed) $700M.
Of the 21 exits we tracked, there were 19 acquisitions, 1 merger and 1 IPO. In 13 of them the price was undisclosed.
Where did the exits take place?
The exits were fairly evenly spread across the region with Denmark just coming out on top with 7. Interestingly, both Norway (5) and Iceland (4) fared better than Finland (3) and Sweden (2), which is in stark contrast to last year. It remains to be seen whether this will be the case at the end of the year however.
Where did the buyers originate from?
As expected, companies from the U.S. and The Nordics dominate the buyers list. There was more of an even split between them than there was in 2014 when U.S. companies more than doubled the amount of acquisitions Nordic companies made.
It’s interesting to see Switzerland and The Netherlands already on the list of buyers in this year, after companies from these Countries bought several Nordic tech companies in 2014, clearly these two are aware of the opportunities that exist in The Nordic market.
The Top 5
Ferratum’s customers can utilise digital media to apply for consumer credit. They were among the first European FinTech companies which completed an IPO in Europe, when they went public on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in February with a valuation of $347M.
‘The personal trainer in your pocket’ was acquired by Under Armour for $85M. Under Armour commented that the acquisition gives them the “largest digital health and fitness community” having acquired MyFitnessPal at the same time to go alongside previous buy, MapMyFitness.
NextCODE Health (Iceland)
NextCODE Health, a leading genomic analysis and bioinformatics company hailing from Iceland were acquired by China’s WuXi Pharma Tech for $65M. WuXi plans to merge NextCODE Health and WuXi’s Genome Center into a new company to be named WuXi NextCODE Genomics.
Bluegiga is one of the fastest growing independent providers of short-range wireless connectivity solutions and software for the IoT. They were acquired by Austin based SIlicon Labs for $61M to expand their wireless hardware and software strategy for IoT.
F-Secure (Personal Cloud Business, Finland)
F-Secure sold off their personal cloud business to Synchronoss technologies for $60M in cash, in order to strengthen its focus on security.
Aspiro $56M (Sweden)
In the most high profile acquisition of Q1, the Jay Z owned Project Panther acquired Aspiro, the streaming company behind Tidal and WiMP for $56M. A few weeks after the acquisition, the company is reportedly now worth $250M.
Admincontrol $25M (Norway)
Norwegian GP Herkules Capital acquired Oslo-based ‘Business-Critical’ SaaS provider Admincontrol for $25M. The new owners stated they will focus on developing Admincontrol’s products and services, as well as consolidating its presence in the Nordic market.
EET $175,000 (Denmark)
EET Europarts is market leading within the European market for sale and distribution of spare parts for mobile phones, computers, printers and tablets. FSN Capital acquired EET for $175,000.
Media site realityportalen.dk was acquired by Egmont for an undisclosed amount. It will incorporated into Egmont’s upcoming media strategy for it’s Her&Nu site.
The Norwegian contact lens online retailer Lensit.no. was acquired by Berlin-based Mister Spex for an undisclosed amount after Mister Spex had raised a $40M investment led by Goldman Sachs.
Simitu, the cloud based spam and web filtering company was acquired by Swedish competitor WeCloud for an undisclosed amount, in an attempt by WeCloud to expand it’s business further.
The leading Elasticsearch SaaS provider Found were acquired by Elastic who provide real-time insights from structured and unstructured data for an undisclosed amount.
Sortiment.se bought all the shares in AlphaGeek, which runs the e-commerce store RoligaPrylar in Sweden and AlphaGeek in the rest of the Nordics – an online store for presents, toys and fun gadgets for an undisclosed amount.
Modio and their 3D printing project app is only 18 months old, but was acquired by Autodesk, the world leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software for an undisclosed amount.
Accurate Equity (Norway)
Accurate Equity, the largest supplier of software and services for share-based compensation plans in the Nordic region was acquired by Equatex positioning them as a top provider of financial reporting in the employee compensation industry worldwide.
Backupsystems (Denmark, Omnis (Iceland), Opin (Iceland), iDrift (Norway)
j2Global’s Cloud Services Division acquired four Nordic Cloud Backup Companies in order to inorganically grow their Cloud Services Division by buying companies. All four were bought for an undisclosed amount.
The vacation rental portal, SunnyRentals.com, was bought by their competitor Vacasol for an undisclosed amount in order to unite private landlords and rental agencies under one concept.
BIT BLUEPRINT (Denmark)
Danish companies BIT BLUEPRINT and Socialsquare have merged under the name Socialsquare with the ambition to help customers effectively take their digital strategies further, so they become strategic digitalization of products and organizations.
In conclusion, The Nordic exit market looks set to be a busy one in 2015, with Q1 seeing 21 deals, more than double the 9 exits in Q1 of 2014. The 21 transactions is also more than any other quarter in 2014, and with Q1 typically being the quietest for acquisitions then we can expect to see between 75-100 exits for Nordic tech companies in 2015.
This increase in exits was also in line with Europe as a whole, with tech.eu reporting that the number of tech exits in Europe has increased by 160% year-over-year.
The increase in exit activity also comes in parallel to the rise in investment Nordic startups are seeing so far in 2015, as Q1 2015’s investment more than doubled 2014’s, with $308M compared to $147.45M