PREMIUM: The 2 biggest startup exits in Spain 2020 from the same buyer

Updated: Jul 2

- 3 possible key factors

Credit: Montage of image from Unsplash and company logos.

EQT group was behind both of the biggest acquisitions in Spain during 2020. What does this Swedish private equity firm understand about the startup ecosystem in Spain that perhaps you don't yet?


idealista, based in Madrid, was acquired at a transaction price of EUR 1.3 billion.

Freepik, based in Malaga, was acquired at a transaction price of EUR 250 million*. *NOTE: general assumption, not officially stated.


--> Case study: Gold mining in Malaga, Spanish Freepik acquired by EQT


When adding up these quantities of invested capital in the Spanish startup ecosystem, I think this quote from the Nordic buyer turns into a massive understatement:

"The investment in idealista further demonstrates EQT’s commitment to pursue investment opportunities in the region." - Carlos Santana, Managing Director, EQT group, Spain.

Because part from the actual pile of money spent, there was also a serious investment in time. For the idealista deal alone, EQT group showed tons of patience and determination, spending almost two years in getting it all finalized.


"We worked on this transaction for 18 months, almost 2 years. That gave us a lot of advantage in understanding the asset and how the business was being managed, and it allowed us to be prepared for the final sprint and win the deal," Carlos Santana, managing director, EQT group Spain said during a digital event organized by GP Bullhound.


How come the same private equity firm manages to swoop up two of the most valuable gems from the Spanish tech soil? What made these guys so relentless in pursuing them and ultimately closing the deals at some of the highest price levels seen in Spain so far?

These possible 3 key factors might explain their conviction in seeing these deals through, despite the pandemic making the geographical distance more of a challenge.


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