Equistone sells Caseking Group to Gilde
Funds advised by Equistone Partners Europe (“Equistone”), one of Europe’s leading mid-market private equity investors, have agreed to sell a majority stake in Caseking (“the company”), one of the leading European suppliers of PC gaming, eSports and tech products, to funds advised by Gilde Buy Out Partners. Equistone acquired Caseking in March 2014 and has subsequently supported the company’s growth strategy. Caseking’s founders and management will retain a stake in the business. The financial terms of the deal are undisclosed and completion of the sale is subject to the approval of the relevant competition authorities.
Headquartered in Berlin, Caseking was founded in 2003 by Kay Kostadinov and Toni Sonn as an online store for gaming and PC accessories. Since then, the company has developed into one of the most successful suppliers of high-performance computer systems and PC components and accessories for the gaming sector throughout Europe. The company employs c.400 people and has operations in Germany, Great Britain, Scandinavia, Southern and Eastern Europe and Taiwan. Through a logistics network of six depots, Caseking processes over 540,000 orders a year and ships c. 4 million products around the world annually. Its product portfolio encompasses exclusive own-brand goods as well as licensed and third-party brands.
Under Equistone’s ownership, Caseking’s turnover has increased from €96m in FY 2013/14 to €239m in FY 2017/2018. This growth was primarily driven by strategic acquisitions, but is also clearly visible in the double-digit organic revenue growth of the company. Prior to Equistone’s acquisition of the company, Caseking had acquired the British company Overclockers, one of the leading providers of hardware components. The acquisitions of the Hungarian company, Kelly-tech, in July 2014 and Portugal-based Globaldata in February 2017 strengthened Caseking’s presence in other key European geographies. Caseking completed two further bolt-on acquisitions under Equistone’s ownership: Trigono, a supplier of gaming products, software licences and maintenance services active in Sweden and Norway, in November 2017 and Jimm’s PC Store, a Finnish supplier of computer and gaming accessories, at the start of 2018.
Toni Sonn, CEO of Caseking, said: “Through our targeted and strategic acquisitions, we have been able to significantly expand Caseking’s international presence and drive its expansion forward effectively and successfully into new markets and countries. We have also realised exceptionally strong organic growth across all the product categories we offer. We would like to thank Equistone for having been a supportive partner throughout its investment period. We’re delighted to be marking the beginning of the next successful period of growth together with the company’s new owners.”
Alexis Milkovic, Partner at Equistone, commented: “Equistone’s objective was to support Caseking both in its organic growth and with targeted acquisitions. This involved simultaneously strengthening Caseking’s position as one of the market leaders in key European markets, taking the Company into new markets and safeguarding Caseking’s high credibility in the gaming community. In a booming market with a discerning and brand-sensitive client base that is very demanding.”
Leander Heyken, Partner at Equistone, added: “We’re delighted to have had such a successful partnership with Caseking and its employees. We wish Caseking all the best in their future development and trust that the company is in good hands with its new owners.”
Equistone was represented in this transaction by Alexis Milkovic and Leander Heyken and advised by William Blair (M&A), P+P Pöllath + Partners (Legal), KPMG (Financial & Tax) and PwC (Commercial).
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