Fidelity buys theme park photographer

The US firm is making its third investment through its London office with the acquisition of Picsolve, which provides the systems that take photos of people on high-speed roller coasters around the world.

Fidelity Equity Partners, the growth buyout arm of the US money manager, has backed Picsolve International, a photographic systems provider for leisure attraction operators, in a £33 million ($66 million; €42 million) secondary buyout.

Fidelity’s investment was supported by a senior debt package of £13 million from The Royal Bank of Scotland.

Meridian Equity, a UK mid-market firm investing in businesses valued at between £3 million and £50 million, led the sale for investors.

Fidelity Equity Partners said it will support Picsolve’s “aggressive expansion plans, focusing predominantly on organic and acquisitive growth in Europe, where it already has market leadership, the US, South East Asia and the Middle East”. 

PortAventura park in Spain: Picsolve profits

Research from LEK Consulting estimates that the global theme and amusement park market is worth over $24 billion and that close to 700 million people visit theme parks annually.

Picsolve provides and operates photographic systems and services – taking photographs of people on high speed roller coasters at theme parks and at visitor attractions around the world, including: Alton Towers, Futuroscope, Port Aventura, the London Eye, and the three Legoland parks, in Europe; Busch Gardens in the USA; and Madame Tussauds globally. 

Nick Martin, Partner, and Stephen Findlay, vice President, for Fidelity Equity Partners, led the investment and have joined Picsolve’s board of directors.

Established in 2007, Fidelity Equity Partners manages a $500 million fund focussed on investing in established, high-growth mid-sized businesses, valued at between £25 million ($50 million) and £75 million, in North America and Europe.

Picsolve is the firm’s third European investment by its London office, which was launched in September last year.