EQT-Led Consortium’s Believe Privatization Plans Proceed With Official €15-Per-Share Tender Offer

believe earnings q3 2023
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believe earnings q3 2023
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Believe founder and CEO Denis Ladegaillerie. Photo Credit: Believe

Following a couple unexpected obstacles – chief among them a possible competing bid from Warner Music – an EQT-led consortium’s Believe privatization plans are moving forward with a tender offer.

That consortium, Upbeat BidCo, formally confirmed the €15-per-share offer via a brief release today. The entity is also backed by Believe founder and head Denis Ladegaillerie, who’s positioned to remain at the helm of the Paris-headquartered music company once it exits the public market.

On this front, less than three years have passed since Believe IPO’d on the Euronext, and word of Ladegaillerie’s privatization ambitions began circulating towards 2024’s beginning. Deals closed with top stakeholders brought the consortium over 70 percent of Believe’s share capital, but Warner Music’s mentioned exploration of a superior offer delayed the privatization process.

At the outset, all signs pointed to strong interest on the part of the major label. After reviewing internal Believe documents and figures, however, WMG opted against making a binding bid. And during Warner Music’s Q1 2024 earnings call, CEO Robert Kyncl said his company had “decided not to pursue it [the Believe buyout] for a variety of reasons that I really can’t go into.”

In any event, the development laid the groundwork for Upbeat BidCo’s privatization play to proceed, with all roads leading to today’s €15-per-share tender offer.

Said Goldman Sachs-presented offer, representing a nearly €5-per-share increase from BLV’s value at the start of 2024, will be on the table for 15 trading days, per Believe’s release. In keeping with the price, BLV is (and has for some time been) holding steady at €15.

If all goes according to plan for the consortium (and at present, evidence suggests that it should), the tender offer will elevate its ownership to 100 percent of Believe’s share capital, thereby enabling a departure from the Euronext. Longer term, time will, of course, reveal whether Believe’s strategy shifts once it resumes operating as a private business.

As it stands, execs during Believe’s Q1 2024 earnings call doubled down on ambitious acquisition goals; among other purchases, the company bought Sentric for over $50 million in 2023. In terms of pure financials, Believe reported a 16 percent year-over-year revenue increase for the first quarter, fueled in part by a 41 percent YoY spike in Europe excluding France and Germany.

Not limited to the acquisition of companies, Believe’s expansion-minded strategy also includes joint ventures like All Night Long (an electronic label created with Kidding Aside and announced in April) as well as catalog deals. With India now accounting for the second-most on-demand streams of any nation, Believe kicked off 2024 by scooping up White Hill Music’s song rights.