Last night, the Baltic deals of the year received honours at the Baltic M&A and Private Equity Forum 2023 in Riga. The most notable transactions were carried out by Milrem Robotics and Sunly of Estonia, and Nord Security and Oxylabs of Lithuania.
Nord Security Group CFO Laurynas Zabulis with the award for Baltic Private Equity Deal of the Year and partner Oxylabs award for Baltic Outbound Deal of the Year, Milrem Robotics CEO and Founder Kuldar Väärsi with the award for Baltic M&A Deal of the Year, Sunly Chairman of the Supervisory Board Martin Kruus with the award for Baltic Energy Deal of the Year, and Sorainen Partner Eva Berlaus.
The Baltic M&A Deal of the Year is the acquisition of a majority stake in Estonia’s Milrem Robotics by the United Arab Emirates’ EDGE Group. The transaction is largest foreign investment in the Estonian defence industry of all time. The advanced technology and defence group acquired the Tallinn-based developer of robotics and autonomous systems, with offices in Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, and the USA. According to Milrem Robotics CEO and Founder Kuldar Väärsi, the company’s market value is in the hundreds of millions of euros.
Other nominees for the M&A deal category were the Vercom (Poland) acquisition of MailerLite (Lithuania) and Renta Group (Finland) acquisition of Uprent (Latvia).
The Baltic Private Equity Deal of the Year is the Nord Security (Lithuania) minority stake funding round led by Novator Partners LLP, giving birth to Lithuania’s second unicorn. The internet privacy and security solutions company raised a USD 100 million financing round led by the London-based private equity investment firm. The deal resulted in a USD 1.6 billion valuation for Nord Security.
Other nominees for the private equity category included the kevin. (Lithuania) Series A funding round led by Accel Partners (USA) and Ready Player Me (Estonia) Series B funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz (USA).
The Baltic Outbound Deal of the Year is Lithuania’s Oxylabs acquisition of a 100% stake in Webshare Software Company, a Silicon Valley-based firm. The public web data gathering solutions provider acquired the US self-service proxy company that services numerous Fortune 500 companies. The financial details of the deal remain undisclosed.
Nominees for the outbound category include Vimanet (Poland) 100% stake acquisition by Uptime (Estonia) and Skelia (Poland, Ukraine) acquisition by Nortal (Estonia).
The Baltic Energy Deal of the Year is Estonia’s Sunly funding round led by France’s Natixis Investment Managers. The energy producer raised around EUR 200 million in capital in a round led by the American and French-based global asset management company, making Natixis Investment Managers the largest investor in Sunly.
Other nominees for the energy category were HydrogenOne Capital Growth (UK) investment into Elcogen (Estonia), and Encavis (Germany) acquisition of a wind farm developed by E Energija Group and GE Energy Financial Services (Lithuania).
International panel of judges
The winners were selected by the independent pan-Baltic panel of judges listed below.
Jussi Hiltunen, McKinsey & Company Partner
Edgars Pīgoznis, LVCA Board Member, serial investor
Mikus Janvars, Merito Partners Co-founder and Managing Partner
Kadri Lindpere, EstVCA Managing Director
Meelis Kitsing, Estonian Business School Rector and Political Economy Professor
Gerda Sakalauskaitė, LT VCA Managing Director
Martynas Visockas, Oaklins Baltics Co-founding Partner
The panel of judges selected the winning deals according to a variety of criteria, including deal value and strategic importance for the Baltic region; level of complexity and innovation; financing structure; ESG impact; and involvement of professionals from the region. The nominees included deals made during the 1 January 2022 – 31 March 2023 period.
You can read more about previous award winners here: 2022, 2021, 2019, 2018.
About the Baltic M&A and Private Equity Forum
The Baltic M&A and Private Equity Forum 2023 was organised by Sorainen in cooperation with leading Latvian business media house Dienas Bizness. The forum rotates between the three Baltic countries and is organised annually by Sorainen in partnership with Baltic business media (Äripäev in Estonia, Verslo žinios in Lithuania and Dienas Bizness in Latvia) and Baltic venture capital associations. Each year the forum gathers over two hundred participants representing private equity, venture capital funds and investment banking, consultants, lawyers, as well as business executives and owners from the Baltics and beyond. This year’s forum was held on 19 April.