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Consortium announces agreement to buy Accell Group

Published January 24, 2022

HEERENVEEN, Netherlands (BRAIN) — A private consortium headed by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. reached a conditional agreement to buy the Accell Group N.V. and take it off the stock market. The group, which includes Teslin Alpine Acquisition B.V., reached agreement on an all-cash offering for its shares for 1.56 billion euros ($1.76 billion).

The 58 euro per share offer price represented a 26% premium over the Friday closing price and a 42% premium over its three-month volume-weighted average price per share.

Accell is one of the largest bike groups in the world, rivaled by the Netherlands' Pon Bike Holdings, which had previously tried to buy Accell. Pon recently acquired Dorel Sports.

KKR has investments in dozens of companies around the world in several sectors. It invested in Zwift, the online cycling game, in 2020, and was among the groups that looked at buying Canyon Bicycles. KKR also is a previous investor in Lyft.

Accell and the consortium said in a news release that the company will be better positioned under private ownership to make long-term investments to drive future growth. Accell's current management team of CEO Ton Anbeek, CFO Ruben Baldew and, Chief Supply Chain Officer Francesca Gamboni will continue to lead the company.

Accell Group's brands include Haibike, Winora, Ghost, Batavus, Koga, Lapierre, Raleigh, Sparta, Babboe and Carqon. Its P&A brand is XLC. Accell Group employs about 3,100 people across 15 countries. The company's presence in the U.S. has diminished since it shut down Accell North America, but several of its brands continue to be distributed in the U.S. by Alta Cycling Group. 

"Today's announcement marks an important step for Accell Group," Anbeek said. "With the consortium as our new shareholder, we will have a financially strong and knowledgeable partner to accelerate the roll-out of our existing strategic road map, enhance our global footprint, explore suitable acquisitions, and further leverage our scale.

"As such, the transaction will enable us to take a leap forward as a group, which also brings along enhanced career opportunities for our employees. We continuously strive to be a leader in the bicycle industry by combining smart design and innovative technology with the best value and customer experience. With KKR coming on board as majority shareholder, and with the continued support of Teslin, we would be able to accelerate the execution of our strategic agenda, launch new innovations for green mobility and support to the benefit of people and communities."

Daan Knottenbelt, partner and head of Benelux at KKR, said the investment will help Accell remain the European leader of the e-bike market.

"This investment in Accell Group would build on KKR's significant experience of investing in the Netherlands," Knottenbelt said. "KKR has the capabilities to support high-quality Dutch businesses to accelerate their domestic and global growth ambitions, and to overcome challenges such as those Accell Group faces in the competitive global bike market."

The deal is expected to be completed in the second or early third quarter of this year.

Accell reported in July that first-half sales increased 3.3%, but said the company could have done better if not for supply and logistical issues. Earnings in the half were up 35.5%.

Editor's note: At the risk of adding, rather than reducing, confusion, here's a clarification: KKR was a partner with Accel (one "l", a venture capital firm, no relation to Accell Group, the bike company), and formed Accel-KKR, a technology investment firm, in 2000. Accel-KKR is now independent of KKR and remains an important investor in technology.

Topics associated with this article: Mergers, Acquisitions & Investments

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