Carlyle consortium exits SmartTrust

Buyout group Carlyle has, along with GE Equity and Eqvitec Partners, sold its majority interest in a Swedish mobile phone technology company to a German trade buyer.

A consortium led by global buyout firm The Carlyle Group and including GE Equity and Eqvitec Partners has exited its investment in Stockholm-headquartered mobile phone technology company SmartTrust in a trade sale to international technology group, Giesecke & Devrient (G&D).

The consortium acquired a majority stake in the business back in 2002 for €35 million, at a time when the then parent company, Sonera, was struggling to offload assets in the wake of the global crash in technology company valuations.

SmartTrust had been one of the major bubble companies of the technology boom. In early 2000 Merrill Lynch issued a research note valuing SmartTrust and Zed, Sonera’s mobile portal division, in excess of €28 billion. The subsequent collapse in technology valuations led Sonera to commence a program of disposals of its non-core operations.

Last year SmartTrust turned over €31.3 million. Financial details for the recent sale to G&D were not disclosed.

G&D is a Munich-based technology corporation that turned over €1.55 billion in 2007.

Eqvitec Partners is a technology-focused private equity firm with offices in Finland and Sweden, while GE Equity is the direct private equity investment arm of US conglomerate GE.