Exit: Silverfleet Capital sells Phase One to Axcel

Cate­gory: Private Equity
17. June 2019

Munich, London, Paris — Pan-Euro­­pean private equity firm Silver­fleet Capi­tal has signed an agree­ment to sell Phase One to funds mana­ged by Axcel. Phase One is a leading tech­no­logy company in the field of high-end digi­tal camera systems and for image proces­sing soft­ware. The tran­sac­tion is still subject to regu­la­tory approval.

Phase One opera­tes two busi­ness units: Soft­ware Imaging Systems (“SIS”) offers market-leading image proces­sing soft­ware for raw (RAW) images under the Capture One brand; it targets both profes­sio­nal and amateur photo­graph­ers as well as busi­nesses. Image Capture Solu­ti­ons (“ICS”) has ultra-high-end medium format camera systems in its port­fo­lio that are suita­ble for aerial photo­gra­phy, for exam­ple, and are used by profes­sio­nal and amateur photo­graph­ers as well as cultu­ral heri­tage insti­tu­ti­ons. The company is head­quar­te­red in Copen­ha­gen, with addi­tio­nal offices in Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan and the USA.

Silver­fleet Capi­tal had acqui­red a majo­rity stake in Phase One in 2014. The decisive factor was the clear growth poten­tial due to the incre­asing demand for high-reso­lu­­tion medium-format photo­gra­phy, for exam­ple in the field of 3D mapping with aerial images or in home­land secu­rity. Since then, Silver­fleet Capi­tal has supported the company in its trans­for­ma­tion from a stron­gly hard­­ware-orien­­ted to a soft­­ware-driven busi­ness model. From 2014 to 2018, the SIS unit increased sales by 38 percent. During this period, two acqui­si­ti­ons were also made — inclu­ding the main Japa­nese supplier — and substan­tial invest­ments were made in rese­arch and deve­lo­p­ment. This allo­wed Phase One to push its inno­va­tion course in medium format photo­gra­phy. The latest product inno­va­tions include the successfully laun­ched IQ4 and IXM systems for photo­graph­ers and indus­trial applications.

“We were deligh­ted to work with the manage­ment team during this exci­ting trans­for­ma­tion phase and to help Phase One become the market leader in imaging soft­ware,” said Rob Knight, Prin­ci­pal at Silver­fleet and Advi­sory Board Member. “We wish Henrik Håkon­sson and his team every success for the next stage of growth.”

Henrik Håkon­sson, CEO of Phase One, adds: “Thanks to Silver­fleet Capital’s stra­te­gic and finan­cial support over the past five years, we have been able to further realize our poten­tial. We have over­come tech­no­lo­gi­cal boun­da­ries and found the right answers to the new needs of our custo­mers in the two busi­ness units SIS and ICS.”

Gareth Whiley, Mana­ging Part­ner of Silver­fleet Capi­tal, said, “We could not be more plea­sed with the outcome from the sale of Phase One. This exit again repres­ents a very successful invest­ment by our company in Scan­di­na­via. There, we conti­nue to actively look for inte­res­t­ing compa­nies — such as Phase One with a diffe­ren­tia­ted busi­ness model and high inter­na­tio­nal growth potential.”

Since 2004, Silver­fleet Capi­tal has inves­ted 19 percent of its assets in compa­nies based in Scan­di­na­via. In 2016, the company sold Cimbria, a manu­fac­tu­rer of bulk hand­ling equip­ment and seed and grain proces­sing equip­ment based in Denmark, to AGCO Corpo­ra­tion for appro­xi­m­ately €310 million. Silver­fleet Capi­tal is curr­ently inves­ted in Danish women’s fashion manu­fac­tu­rer Masai.

In the current tran­sac­tion, Silver­fleet Capi­tal was advi­sed by Moor­eland Part­ners (Corpo­rate Finance), Travers Smith and Bech-Bruun (Legal), Deloitte (Finan­cial & Tax Due Dili­gence), McKin­sey (Commer­cial Due Dili­gence) and Bearing­Point (Tech­ni­cal Due Diligence).

About Silver­fleet Capital
Silver­fleet Capi­tal has been active as a private equity inves­tor in the Euro­pean mid-market for more than 30 years. The 30-strong invest­ment team works from Munich, London, Paris, Stock­holm and Amsterdam.

Nine invest­ments have alre­ady been made from the second inde­pen­dent fund closed in 2015 with a volume of 870 million euros: The Masai Clot­hing Company, a women’s fashion whole­sa­ler and retailer head­quar­te­red in Denmark; Coven­tya, a French deve­lo­per of specialty chemi­cals; Sigma Compon­ents, a UK-based manu­fac­tu­rer of precis­ion compon­ents for civil avia­tion; Life­time Trai­ning, a UK-based provi­der of trai­ning programs; Pumpen­fa­brik Wangen, a manu­fac­tu­rer of specialty pumps based in Germany; Riviera Travel, an opera­tor of escor­ted group tours and crui­ses based in the United King­dom; 7days, a German supplier of medi­cal work­wear; Prefere Resins, a leading phen­o­lic and amino resin manu­fac­tu­rer in Europe; and CARE Ferti­lity, a leading opera­tor of ferti­lity clinics in the United Kingdom.

Silver­fleet Capi­tal also main­ta­ins an invest­ment team focu­sed on smal­ler middle-market compa­nies, which has alre­ady made two successful invest­ments: STAXS Conta­mi­na­tion Control Experts, a leading supplier of clean­room supplies in the Bene­lux (closed in Janu­ary 2019), and Micro­gen Finan­cial Systems, a leading provi­der of trust and fund admi­nis­tra­tion soft­ware to the trust and corpo­rate services indus­try (pending share­hol­der appr­oval of seller Apti­tude Soft­ware Group plc).

Silver­fleet achie­ves value growth by inves­t­ing in compa­nies in its core sectors that bene­fit from speci­fic, long-term trends. Silver­fleet supports these compa­nies in their future growth stra­te­gies. As part of these stra­te­gies, invest­ments are made in orga­nic growth drivers, inter­na­tio­na­liza­tion, stra­te­gic acqui­si­ti­ons or opera­tio­nal impro­ve­ment proces­ses. Since 2004, Silver­fleet Capi­tal has inves­ted €2 billion in 30 companies.

Silver­fleet specia­li­zes in four key indus­tries: Busi­ness and Finan­cial Services, Health­care, Manu­fac­tu­ring, and Retail and Consu­mer Goods. Since 2004, the private equity inves­tor has inves­ted 31% of its assets in compa­nies head­quar­te­red in the DACH region, 33% in the UK and Ireland, 19% in Scan­di­na­via, and 17% in France and the Bene­lux (includes an invest­ment sourced in Belgium and head­quar­te­red in the US).

Silver­fleet Capi­tal has a solid invest­ment track record. Most recently, Silver­fleet sold Ipes, a leading provi­der of outsour­cing services to Euro­pean private equity firms (invest­ment multi­ple 3.7x); CCC, one of the leading BPO services provi­ders in Europe; and Cimbria, a Danish manu­fac­tu­rer of agri­cul­tu­ral equip­ment (invest­ment multi­ple cannot be disc­lo­sed for legal reasons); Kalle, a German manu­fac­tu­rer of arti­fi­cial sausage sticks (invest­ment multi­ple 3.5x); OFFICE, a UK-based foot­wear retailer (invest­ment multi­ple 3.4x); and Aesica, a leading phar­maceu­ti­cal CDMO company (invest­ment multi­ple 3.3x).

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