Eurazeo has found its purchaser for tabletop game powerhouse Asmodee Group, the companies announced Friday: French private equity fund Pai Partners. The enterprise value, which typically includes the amount paid for shares in the company plus assumed debt, was announced as €1.2 billion, or around $1.4 billion at today’s exchange rate. Eurazeo had floated a higher price of €1.5 billion as the sale process kicked off, but as we noted at the time, that was a rich valuation given the company’s earnings (see “Asmodee Group on the Block”).
PAI is actually a smaller private equity player than Eurazeo, with €12.3 billion in assets under management compared to Eurazeo’s €16 billion, but it specializes in larger companies, preferring “medium to large European companies who are leading brands in their market.” It will likely use debt to finance some of the acquisition, since it says on its website that it’s “particularly focused on transactions in excess of €300 million with equity investments of between €100 and €400 million translation into controlling shareholdings.”
Asmodee CEO Stéphane Carville noted PAI’s strength in the consumer products sector when describing the acquisition. “We have been very impressed by the PAI team, their operational approach as well as their knowledge of the consumer goods industry globally, and we very much look forward to continuing our ascent in partnership with them.” Consumer product companies in the PAI portfolio include food companies Labeyrie Fine Foods (gourmet foods in France and the UK), Froneri (the #3 worldwide ice cream company), Marcolin (16 brands of eyewear), United Biscuits (European manufacturer of biscuits, snacks and nut products), and Saeco (high-end espresso machines).
PAI gave some clues to its plans for Asmodee, saying in its statement that it “intends to support the current management team in its plans to grow the business further through international expansion both organically and by acquisition.”
PAI partner Gaёlle d’Engremont gave some elaboration on those plans. “We are excited by the company’s growth prospects, which include further developing Asmodee’s position in the core hobby gaming market and successfully diversifying the group’s main brands onto other platforms.”
Asmodee Group’s sales have reached €442 million ($514 million), according to the announcement, with 75% of those sales outside of France. Publishing is “nearly 2/3” of sales, with the rest presumably distribution.
No date was given for a closing; the agreement at this stage is for “exclusive discussions.”