EQT-Powered Consortium Now Owns 95% of Believe Share Capital As Privatization Plans Move Forward

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The Stockholm headquarters of EQT, one of the companies behind the consortium that’s taking Believe private. Photo Credit: Holger Ellgaard

10 days back, the EQT- and TCV-powered consortium, Upbeat Bidco, that’s privatizing Believe set a June 21st conclusion for its tender offer. Now, with the window in the books, the purchasing party has officially revealed the results.

Unsurprisingly, those results are seemingly positive, Upbeat Bidco confirmed today. Heading into the tender offer, the consortium had already secured over 70 percent of the relevant share capital from sizable investors including EQT itself as well as Believe founder Denis Ladegaillerie, who’s expected to continue leading the business once it delists from the Euronext.

Consequently, the €15-per-share buyout option made available via the tender offer was designed to seal the deal for the consortium. And for the most part, it looks to have done just that. As of today, Upbeat Bidco held 94.99 percent of Believe’s share capital, or 95.66 million shares, per Believe’s English-language release as well as a French-language notice from the Financial Markets Authority.

Evidently unconcerned with the remaining 5.04 million free-float shares – BLV dipped to €14.40 during Monday’s trading – the consortium has gone ahead and started retooling Believe’s board.

Capitalizing on the board departure of cashed-out Believe stakeholder Ventech, former Shazam CEO and current Epidemic Sound chair Andrew Fisher is poised to represent EQT on said board, besides serving on the audit committee and the corporate social responsibility committee.

A vote on the ratification of Fisher’s appointment is expected to arrive at Believe’s 2025 annual meeting; nevertheless, the 2024 installment is scheduled for this coming Wednesday, June 26th.

Additionally, Believe’s board has appointed two observers: TCV general partner Michael Kalfayan (who’s billed on LinkedIn as a longtime Believe investor) and EQT partner Nicolas Brugère.

As the Sentric parent Believe’s privatization nears its official close (and particularly after the play wraps), it’ll be worth monitoring potential shifts in strategy and direction for the business.

Closer to the present, evidence suggests that the revamped operation may simply opt to accelerate and lean into its existing strategy. In 2024, this strategy has included the rollout of JV labels like All Night Long, the launch of a Japanese hip-hop imprint called Playcode, and the purchase of “Punjabi powerhouse” White Hill Music’s catalog, to name some.

In April, Believe reported 16 percent year-over-year revenue growth for 2024’s opening quarter, which benefited from a 41 percent boost in Europe excluding France and Germany. The company has teed up the release of its H1 2024 earnings report for Thursday, August 1st.