EXCLUSIVE buyout funds surround Germany’s Transporeon ahead of $1.1 billion sale

LONDON, Feb 11 (Reuters) – Buyout funds including KKR (KKR.N), Hellman & Friedman and Blackstone (BX.N) have expressed interest in German transport logistics software company Transporeon as the Private equity owner Hg is reviewing exit options, four sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Hg, which bought Transporeon in 2019, wants to capitalize on the surge in e-commerce demand during the pandemic, where retailers have come to rely increasingly on freight software to handle record volumes of online orders, the sources said.

Transporeon specializes in cloud-based logistics technology and could be valued at around 1 billion euros ($1.14 billion) by potential buyers, the sources said.

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European private equity funds including Permira, Cinven and Astorg are expected to participate in an auction process, one of the sources said.

Hg has not yet hired any advisers and no final decision has been made on selling the business, the sources said.

Hg, KKR, Hellman & Friedman, Blackstone, Permira and Cinven declined to comment. Astorg did not return requests for comment.

With sales of almost €280 billion in 2018, Germany has the largest logistics market in Europe – larger than France and the UK combined. Germany also ranks third in the world for both exporters and importers of goods, according to data from Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI).

The country has seen a proliferation of freight software providers with investors vying to pump money into local start-ups.

Last year, Softbank (9984.T) led a $240m funding round for German freight tech startup Forto, while Berlin-based digital freight forwarder Sennder raised $160m from investors, valuing the company at over $1 billion. Read more

Transporeon generates around €120 million ($136.86 million) in sales and could be valued at around €1 billion, which is a multiple of around 20 times its base profit of €35 million. , said two of the sources.

The company, led by chief executive Stephan Sieber, expects 2021 revenue to grow well over 12.7%, which was the growth rate disclosed in public filings in 2020.

Under Hg’s ownership, Transporeon made a series of add-on acquisitions, including purchases of ControlPay, Sixfold and TNX Logistics.

Transporeon could favor a deal with a US buyout fund to help drive growth in the US, where it faces competition from supply chain management firm HighJump Software, a source said.

Transporeon has more than 1,000 employees and about 120,000 connected carriers, its website says.

($1 = 0.8778 euros)

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Reporting by Emma-Victoria Farr and Pamela Barbaglia, editing by Jane Merriman

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