Last July, Equistone Partners Europe sold travel-related payment services company Global Blue to Silver Lake Partners and Partners Group for €1 billion – generating a return multiple of more than 4x.
1. BOLSTERING MANAGEMENT
In order to drive growth at Global Blue, Equistone strengthened the company’s management team by adding a number of senior level executives.
One of the first initiatives Kruger spearheaded after joining the company in 2008 was a rebrand – in order to facilitate the launch of a number of new products and services tailored specifically for individual consumers, rather than just retail stores.
3. GOING DIGITAL
As part of this process, Global Blue focused on making the customer experience as seamless as possible. One way to do this was to digitise the process of customers getting their tax refunds, which had been largely paper-based in 2007.
4. ENTERING EMERGING MARKETS
While the majority of Global Blue’s customers in 2007 were Europeans traveling within Europe, one of the most significant changes Equistone helped implement was attracting more business from travellers in emerging markets.
5. POSITIONING FOR FUTURE GROWTH
Though Equistone has already reaped a strong return on its investment, Global Blue is poised for continued growth under Silver Lake and Partners Group’s ownership, according to Kruger.
Clarke agrees. “It wasn’t a case where we came in with our operational partners or our own views and said, ‘You need to do this, that and the other’. This was [about] developing a strategic plan that the management team was leading.”