Drake Star Partners advises Spain's Freepik on investor deal

29 May 2020 Consultancy.eu

Micro-stock provider Freepik has announced its majority sale to EQT Mid Market Europe Partners. Drake Star Partners acted as exclusive financial advisor to Freepik and its shareholders on the transaction.

Founded in 2010 in Málaga, Freepik is a platform where designers can find free graphic resources. The Spanish stock platform now provides photos, vectors, Photoshop documents (PSDs) and icons throughout the world, and is used by major multinationals including Microsoft, FedEx, Amazon and Spotify.

Parent brand Freepik Company acts as an umbrella for a variety of different design and creativity products including Freepik, a website in which any user can search among vectors, PSDs, or stock photos; Flaticon, which offers editable and exclusive icons; and SlidesGo, which offers an extensive catalog of free Google Slides themes and PowerPoint templates. Overall, the company has doubled the number of graphic resources available on its platform since 2017, and last year it surpassed the 5 million mark.

Drake Star Partners advises Spain's Freepik on investor deal

Users can alternatively access all of the content offered by Freepik and Flaticon for less than €100 per year, without the obligation of attribution. While its price is low, demand has been high enough that the company now employs 160 people, and enjoyed a turnover of €17 million in 2018 – something which saw it listed on the Financial Times “Fastest Growing European Companies” list. Understandably then, it drew the attention of potential buyers soon after.

Following a highly competitive sale process managed by professional services firm Drake Star Partners, EQT Mid Market Europe Partners has seen off a number of other rival strategic and private equity parties to secure a majority stake in Freepik. The acquisition of represents a landmark transaction in the broader technology and digital media sectors in Europe, as one of the largest European private equity backed technology M&A transactions in 2020.

Commenting on the acquisition, Victor Englesson, Partner at EQT Partners, said, “We are impressed by Freepik’s achievements and EQT is proud to partner with its co-founders to help achieve its full potential. Freepik is supported by numerous positive secular megatrends and represents a truly thematic investment, which fits strongly with EQT’s focus on growth investments and partnerships.”

The deal is also the largest ever private equity backed transaction of a pure-play digital stock photography company and largest European transaction in the sector since Adobe’s $800 million acquisition of Fotolia in 2014. This is particularly notable given the current difficult Covid-19 environment.

Alejandro Blanes, co-founder and co-CEO of Freepik commented, “We have always had the ambition of leaving a positive mark in the creative industry; we are now better placed than ever to deliver on that. Special thank you to all our employees as well as our advisors and Drake Star Partners for their support and advice throughout the process."

Eric Ward, Partner at Drake Star Partners, added, “It’s been a privilege to work closely with and advise the Freepik team on delivering this successful transaction… With EQT as their partner, they are well-positioned to become one of the more successful technology companies from Europe in the years to come.”