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EQT, German Tycoon Buy €1 Billion Stake in Greyhound Owner Flix

(Bloomberg) — Buyout firm EQT AB is teaming up with Germany’s richest man to acquire a 35% stake in German bus and train operator Flix SE. 

EQT and Kühne Holding AG, the investment vehicle of logistics tycoon Klaus-Michael Kühne, will become long-term anchor shareholders in Flix, according to a statement Thursday confirming an earlier Bloomberg News report. They are investing around €1 billion ($1.2 billion) in Flix in a deal valuing the business at more than €3 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said. 

Bloomberg News reported earlier this week that EQT was closing in on an agreement and could announce a deal within days. The private equity firm is investing through EQT Future, an impact-driven fund with a longer holding period.

EQT and Kühne Holding are buying new stock in Flix as well as acquiring shares from some existing holders, according to Thursday’s statement, which didn’t disclose financial terms. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other conditions. 

Flix’s annual revenue rose 30% last year to hit €2 billion for the first time, it said in the statement. The company reported €104 million of adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

Rich Families 

Private equity firms clinched more than $30 billion of deals around the world last week, raising hopes for a revival in mergers and acquisitions following a slow first half of the year. EQT alone announced at least three deals in June including a sale of a majority stake in European online real estate platform Idealista and an acquisition of a majority stake in Belgium-based software provider CluePoints.

Flix operates bus and train services in Europe and North America under its brands FlixBus, FlixTrain, Greyhound and Kamil Koç, according to its website. It runs Europe’s largest long-distance bus network and employs about 3,000 people at over 20 locations.

Switzerland-based Kühne Holding owns a majority stake in Kühne+Nagel International AG and is the largest single shareholder of Hapag-Lloyd AG, Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Brenntag SE. 

Buyout firms have been increasingly teaming up with the ultra-wealthy on their deals. The Viessmann family, which made its fortune selling household boilers in Germany, joined KKR & Co. in its $3 billion acquisition of renewable energy firm Encavis AG announced in March. EQT has partnered with the pharmaceutical billionaires in Germany’s Struengmann family on at least six major deals over the past decade. 

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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