Primus's Tallinn office has advised leading BaltCap on acquisition of 100% of Sanoma Baltics AS, the operator of the Estonian online classified sites auto24 and Kuldne Bors, from Sanoma Media Finland Oy. Sorainen advised the sellers and Cobalt advised the management of Sanoma Baltics AS on the transaction, which is expected to close in spring 2017 and the parties have agreed not to disclose the value of the transaction.
Financing for the transaction was partly provided by LHV pension funds, managed by AS LHV Varahaldus, which was advised by Ellex Raidla.
Sanoma Baltics operates the auto24 classified portal in Estonia, which Primus describes as having "a strong position in car, motorbike, boat, and heavy equipment advertising." It also operates the Kuldne Bors generalist classifieds site, which, according to Primus, covers "a variety of categories, such as construction materials, agricultural equipment, pets, and household goods to name a few."
“The strong local classified sites auto24 and Kuldne Bors are very well managed and operate in a growing market," said BaltCap Partner Oliver Kullman. "The sites provide a very useful service to Estonian consumers and businesses by providing an efficient online marketplace. We are excited to work together with the management team to further improve and grow the business of both auto24 and Kuldne Bors.”
Margus Tomberg, CEO of Sanoma Baltics, added: “The new owner BaltCap opens up solid investment and development opportunities to strengthen our existing business and also to expand beyond classified listings. We are looking forward to developing new and innovative solutions to address customer needs.”
BaltCap Private Equity Fund II (BPEF II) makes equity investments in innovative companies based in the Baltic region focusing on buy-and-build opportunities. BPEF II was established in cooperation with the European Investment Fund (EIF) involved in the project through the Baltic Innovation Fund (BIF). The BIF is an initiative created by cooperation between the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania and EIF.
The Primus team was led by Partner Ermo Kosk and included, among others, Senior Associates Sandra Vark and Dmitri Rozenblat, Special Counsel Toomas Kasesalu, and Associate Marilin Laud.
The Sorainen team consisted of Partner Pekka Puolakka, Counsel Paul Kunnap, and Associate Olga Vijard.
The Cobalt team consisted of Partner Kristel Raidla-Talur and Senior Associate Triin Ploomipuu.
Ellex Raidla team advising the the pension funds managed by LHV included Partner Raino Paron and Senior Associates Helen Metsar and Martin Maesalu. Those funds have more than 170,000 clients, and their volume was EUR 991.4 million at the end of February.