Q2 Exit Analysis for Nordic technology companies.

In Q2, we tracked 22 exits from Nordic technology companies totalling a disclosed $1.64 billion.

With the first half of the year behind us already, it’s time to look back at what Q2 brought us in terms of Nordic technology exits.

On the face of it, it was a strong quarter, with 22 Nordic technology companies either exiting through an acquisition or an IPO. (9 of the 17 acquisitions had the price undisclosed) however there are some warning signs amongst the headline numbers (more on those in the conclusion).

As IPO’s generally become less common, it was surprising to see that 22.72% of Q2’s exits came from Nordic technology companies going public, however it should be noted these IPO’s all took place on local markets at modest prices (perhaps with the exception of Tobii’s). To put this into context, we only tracked 5 IPO’s in the whole of 2014, so 5 in a quarter seems fairly significant.

Denmark, Finland and Sweden were all represented in the five largest exits of the quarter.

Just as they did in Q1, Denmark led the way in the region for the most exits with 36.36%, with Sweden just behind with 31.82%. Finnish technology companies accounted for 27.27%, however after promising Q1’s both Norway and Iceland didn’t fare so well in Q2, performing more in line with how they did in 2014 rather than at the start of this year.

Companies from within the Nordics and from the United States continue to be the dominant buyers of Nordic technology companies, although the United States percentage is slightly lower than previous quarters, perhaps showing parallels with less American investment coming into the region at the minute too. It’s also worth nothing that companies from the UK purchased three Nordic tech companies in Q2.

The year so far (Q1 and Q2 combined)

7 of the biggest exits in 2015 so far occurred in Q2, yet despite the exit sizes picking up, we are yet to see a truly significant exit for the region this year, although the largest exits that we have seen should all be considered big exits for the companies involved. However, the largest exit we’ve seen in 2015 so far (Universal Robots at $350M) would only place in 7th in the list of 2014’s largest exits.

After seeing the most exits in Q1 and Q2 it’s only natural to see Denmark comfortably leading the way with 34.89% of the exits so far this year. Sweden and Finland have both seen the same number of exits in 2015 so far (20.93%), while despite disappointing Q2’s, thanks to their Q1 exit performances, Norway and Iceland represent 13.95% and 9.30% respectively.

Other companies from the Nordics and companies from the United States are far and away the dominant buyers of Nordic technology companies, tied at the top with 14 acquisitions each, equating to 37.84%. Behind them, companies from the UK and The Netherlands have also bought Nordic on more than occasion in 2015.

Compared to this point of the year in 2014, we’ve seen a 65% increase in exits with 43 compared to 26, on the surface a healthy exit scene. However, there are a few indicators that 2015 is in fact not as healthy as 2014.

Firstly, as I noted above, the largest exit in 2015 so far would only place 7th on the list of largest exits in 2014. Of course, 2014 was a particularly stellar year, with King, Just-Eat, Mojang and Zendesk all exiting, however we are yet to see one really significant exit this year, and at the moment it’s hard to see where that might come from.

The second point to note, is that although a 65% growth in exits may seem impressive, it’s behind the average for Europe as a whole, recorded by tech.eu as 160% in Q1, and it’s slowed dramatically in Q2 (29.4%) compared to Q1 (133%) when you compare the quarters performances to the same quarter in 2014.

However, in saying that, 22 exits is still the most we’ve recorded in a quarter since we started tracking at the beginning of 2014, and exits like Universal Robots, Tobii etc are not to be sniffed at and with a disclosed $1.64 billion in exits in Q2, it shows there’s still an active market both privately and publicly available for Nordic technology companies to exit to.

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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.