Global Blue

Global Blue

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.

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.

Founded in 1908, Global Blue is headquartered in Switzerland with a presence in 41 countries and approximately 1,400 employees worldwide.


During Equistone’s investment period, Global Blue has shown impressive growth, doubling revenues and increasing EBITDA from c. €35m to c. €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 efficiency of Global Blue’s processing capabilities


Equistone sold its investment in Global Blue 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.


Oct 2007 - Jul 2012




Financial Services

Revenue Progression

£194m / €438m

Employees at ACQ.


Investment Type

Secondary MBO

Global Blue 1

Equistone has provided tremendous support in developing 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.