Carlyle, Mercapital exit Spanish web hosting business

The buyout firms have sold Arsys to trade player United Internet for €160m, making roughly 1.5x on the deal thanks to prior dividend recaps.

The Carlyle Group and N+1 Mercapital have divested Spanish ICT company Arsys to 1&1, the web hosting subsidiary of German-based United Internet. 

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed, but a source close to the matter told Private Equity International the deal was valued at around €160 million. That was roughly the amount Carlyle and Mercapital paid for a 78 percent stake in Arsys six years ago, notwithstanding the roughly €20 million of cash the company had on its balance sheet at the time, the source added. 

The transaction allowed Carlyle to exit the company on a 1.5x return, largely generated through earlier dividend recapitalisations, according to the source.

Carlyle declined to comment , while N+1 Mercapital could not be reached for comment at press time. 

Founded in Logroño, Spain, in 1996, Arsys provides web hosting and domain registration services, and was among the first European companies to set up a cloud hosting platform. It now counts around 300 staff and 150,000 customers in 100 countries.

Despite its first-mover advantage and international expansion, however, Arsys' revenues have been treading water since being acquired by Carlyle and Mercapital in 2006. The business posted sales of €40 million last year – roughly on par with the revenues it generated in 2008 – and generated around €15 million in EBITDA. 

Arsys was the first company acquired by Mercapital’s Fund III, which reached its final close on €550 million in 2006. The firm completed its merger with former rival N+1 earlier this year, in a move that created Spain’s largest private equity firm. The combined entity intends to raise a €1 billion fund in the coming years.