European investment company Eurazeo has sold part of its stake in Galway-headquartered Planet in a deal that values the fintech at €1.8 billion.
The French firm hired Citigroup and Evercore to prepare the sale of the company formerly known as Fintrax last year although this was subsequently put on hold after the collapse in travel arising from the Covid-19 crisis.
The company has now agreed to reinvest and co-control the fintech in partnership with Advent International in a deal that values it at around the price it was looking to sell its stake in Planet for.
Founded in Galway by Gerry Barry in 1985, Fintrax was one of the world's biggest players in processing tourist Vat refunds. It was acquired by Eurazeo in late 2015 with the investment company paying up to €585 million for the Irish firm. Fintrax rebranded in early 2018 after acquiring US-listed company Planet payment in a €219 million deal, to which Eurazeo provided half the financing.
The enlarged group now employs more than 1,500 staff in 70 markets. It serves more than 400,000 merchants and 100 partner banks, managing in excess of 500 million transactions worth more than €20 billion in value.
Partner brands include Giorgio Armani, Coach, Calvin Klein, El Corte Ingles, Gucci and Hugo Boss.
Eurazeo said it has made 2.5 times its original investment in Planet following the new deal.
"Six years ago, we saw the potential in Planet to become a world-class payments business delivering innovative products and digital services across multiple vertical sectors," Marc Frappier, Eurazeo managing partner, added. "Since then, we have been delighted with Planet's strategic direction and growth trajectory."
The buyout firm last December invested a further €50 million in Planet as part of a deal to acquire Luxembourg-based 3C Planet. The investment is aimed at doubling the value of transactions the Galway-headquartered company processes each year.
Planet Payment Ireland recorded revenues of €41 million in 2019, up from €34.7 million a year earlier with the company reporting a €10 million pretax loss versus a €19.8 million profit in 2018 due to the writing off of intercompany loans.