Apax Partners to Sell a Majority Shareholding in Marlink to Providence Equity Partners

September 13, 2021

Apax Partners to Sell a Majority Shareholding in Marlink to Providence Equity Partners

* Ardian to Invest Alongside Providence
* Management to Roll Over a Significant Portion of Proceeds
* Transaction Values Marlink Group at Approximately $1.4bn
* Investment Aims to Accelerate Marlink’s Growth Strategy to Meet Increasing Customers Demand for High-speed, Business-critical Networks and Digitalisation of Remote Operations

LONDON AND PARIS – 13 September, 2021 – Providence Equity Partners (“Providence”), a premier private equity firm that specialises in the media, communications, education, software and services industries, has agreed to acquire a majority shareholding in Marlink from Apax Partners SAS (“Apax”), a leading European private equity firm based in Paris. The transaction results in an enterprise value for Marlink Group of approximately $1.4bn; further details were not disclosed.

Apax, who maintain deep conviction in the Company’s growth prospects, will retain a significant minority shareholding. Marlink’s management team and world leading investment house Ardian have also committed to minority interests. 

Headquartered in Paris and Oslo, Marlink is a world leading Satellite Service Operator (“SSO”) offering business-critical intelligent hybrid networks and digital solutions to empower the remote operations of a wide range of maritime, enterprise, energy, humanitarian and government customers around the world.

Marlink offers a comprehensive set of smart network solutions combining the entire spectrum of satcom and terrestrial connectivity, IT, Cloud, cyber security and IoT managed services.” said Karim Tabet, Senior Managing Director at Providence. “We are pleased to be partnering with such an outstanding business, and, together with Apax and Ardian, we look forward to supporting Erik Ceuppens and his team as Marlink continues to be a market leader and seeks to capitalize on increased demand for higher bandwidth connectivity and digital solutions.” 

Michaël Vervisch, Managing Director at Providence, added: “We have been impressed by the Company’s transformation into a branded broadband provider leveraging its own hybrid network and capturing scale benefits by taking a leadership role in the industry. Furthermore, we see significant future growth opportunities, including through offering value added digital solutions.” 

Bertrand Pivin, Managing Partner at Apax Partners, said: “Apax Partners first invested in Marlink 15 years ago. Under the leadership of Erik Ceuppens, the company transformed its business model, tripled its revenues and multiplied its EBITDA by 10. It emerged as the worldwide leading Satellite Service Operator, first in the maritime sector, and now, with the recent acquisition of ITC Global, in the enterprise sector. The 10,000-strong remote broadband terminals installed worldwide will serve as a springboard to design and deliver the much-needed digital services which Marlink’s direct customers are seeking for their business-critical operations. We believe Providence is the partner of choice to conduct the next stage of this extraordinary journey. Apax is keen to roll-over part of its investment and hold a significant fraction of the share capital, in order to continue to back this remarkable company.” 

Erik Ceuppens, CEO of Marlink, said: “This important shareholder transaction is a reflection of their belief in our company’s strength and future growth potential. Marlink has become a leader in B2B satcom solutions through significant organic growth and a series of well-targeted strategic acquisitions. With our Smart Network strategy, Marlink is fully focused on supporting the rapid digitization of our customers’ remote operations and on making them more sustainable. We are delighted to partner with premier private equity investors Providence and Ardian as our new majority shareholders and to benefit from the continued support of Apax, our investor-of-the-first-hour. With our solid investor backing, management team and employees, we form a powerful force to take Marlink Group to the next level.” 

Alexandre Motte, Head of Ardian Co-Investment said: “We have been impressed by Marlink’s unique position in the B2B satcom industry and the accomplishments of Erik Ceuppens and his team. We are thrilled to participate in this new chapter of Marlink’s development, supported by increasing connectivity and service needs as well as further growth opportunities, notably through acquisitions. We thank Marlink, Providence and Apax for their trust and look forward to supporting this partnership.”

The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2022, subject to customary and regulatory approvals. 


Transaction teams

Providence: Karim Tabet, Michael Vervisch, Stefano Bosio, Tarik Ben Brahim<br>
M&A Advisors: UBS (Christian Lesueur, Abhishek Dhacholia)
Capital Markets Advisory: DC Advisory (Ciara O'Neill)
Commercial DD: Arthur D. Little (Guillaume Picq, Matteo Ainardi)
Financial DD: FTI Consulting (Aneesh Maloo, Thomas Rawlinson)
Legal: Paul Hastings (Arthur de Baudry d'Asson), Allen & Overy (Vanessa Xu)
Tax: KPMG (Saul Russo)

Apax: Bertrand Pivin, Vincent Colomb, Arnaud Vigier
M&A Advisors: Goldman Sachs (Céline Méchain, Thomas Gagnez), BNP Paribas (Sylvina Mayer, Marc Walbaum, Claire Ramaharobandro)
Commercial DD: BCG (Franck Luisada, Benjamin Sarfati)
Financial DD : Deloitte (Leonardo Clavijo, Lisa Lauv, Christele Fraisse)
Corporate: Weil, Gotshal & Manges (Alexandre Duguay, Guillaume Bonnard)
Legal / Social: Mazars (Jérôme Gertler)
Tax: Taj (Olivier Venzal)

About Providence Equity Partners
Providence Equity Partners is a premier global private equity firm with approximately $45 billion in aggregate capital commitments. Providence pioneered a sector-focused approach to private equity investing with the vision that a dedicated team of industry experts could build exceptional companies of enduring value. Since the firm's inception in 1989, Providence has invested in over 170 companies and is a leading equity investment firm focused on the media, communications, education, software and services industries. Providence has an extensive and proven track record of investing in European TMT businesses, including – between 2001 and 2021 – Node4, MasMovil, Mach, MobileServ, M7 Group, Ono, Comhem, TDC, Eircom, Bite, Kabel Deutschland, and Casema. Providence is headquartered in Providence, RI, and also has offices in New York and London. For a complete list of Providence portfolio companies, please visit www.provequity.com/portfolio.

About Apax Partners
Apax Partners is a leading European private equity firm based in Paris. With more than 45 years of experience, Apax Partners provides long-term equity financing to build and strengthen world-class companies. Funds managed and advised by Apax Partners exceed €4.5 billion. These funds invest in fast-growing, middle-market companies across four sectors of specialisation: Tech & Telecom, Consumer, Healthcare and Services.

Paris-headquartered Apax Partners SAS (www.apax.fr), and London-headquartered Apax Partners LLP (www.apax.com), have a shared history but are separate, independent private equity firms.

About Marlink
Marlink is the trusted partner in fully managed smart network solutions, combining various connectivity technologies in an intelligent hybrid network and completing the offering with digital solutions. The company connects people and assets around the globe and across all markets where conventional connectivity cannot reach or is not available with a focus on B2B customers in the maritime and enterprise verticals. Marlink orchestrates and optimises all network elements and applications, from data handling and IT to application-based routing (SD Wan), cloud and Digital Solutions, including remote data and IT, cyber security as well as IoT/OT solutions. Marlink has a presence in over 130 countries and employs over 1,000 people. For more information, please visit: www.marlink.com

About Ardian
Ardian is a world-leading private investment house with assets of US$114n managed or advised in Europe, the Americas and Asia. The company is majority-owned by its employees. It keeps entrepreneurship at its heart and focuses on delivering excellent investment performance to its global investor base.

Through its commitment to shared outcomes for all stakeholders, Ardian’s activities fuel individual, corporate and economic growth around the world.

Holding close its core values of excellence, loyalty and entrepreneurship, Ardian maintains a truly global network, with more than 780 employees working from fifteen offices across Europe (Frankfurt, Jersey, London, Luxembourg, Madrid, Milan, Paris and Zurich), the Americas (New York, San Francisco and Santiago) and Asia (Beijing, Singapore, Tokyo and Seoul). It manages funds on behalf of more than 1,200 clients through five pillars of investment expertise: Fund of Funds, Direct Funds, Infrastructure, Real Estate and Private Debt. www.ardian.com



Marlink is a leading provider of high bandwidth satellite connectivity and digital solutions to the maritime and enterprise end markets.


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