In a surprising move given the economic slowdown from the global pandemic, the private equity firm EQT has just acquired a majority stake on Freepik, a Spain-based stock media company that offers vector graphics and stock photos under a freemium model.
As current co-founders and management team will remain in charge of daily operations, the PE firm believes there’s plenty of opportunities to grow Freepik’s business globally, especially in the US and Asia. And they’re set to fuel the agency’s growth in the content library, user interface and tech development.
Freepik is based in Málaga, Spain, and was launched in 2010. It is a freemium marketplace for vector graphics and stock photos, meaning they offer free downloads for all users, as well as a premium subscription that gives access to a much larger pool of premium content with unlimited downloads.
Overall, their catalogue hosts over 10 million files between stock photos, icons, vectors and templates. The content is all curated and comes from the work of around 450 in-house graphic designers and over 9,000 contributors.
The company claims to have 32 million visitors per month and 20 million registered members who have downloaded 5 billion files to date.
EQT is a global investment fund lead by the Wallenbergs, one of the most influent Swedish families. Their portfolio includes various companies in Europe, Asia and North America and they have a strong foothold in all things digital technology and constantly buying digital startups.
They acquired a major equity stake from Freepik. The amount paid was not disclosed, but some sources point out Freepik’s net worth at around €250 million. Co-founders Alejandro and Pablo Blanes and Joaquin Cuenca remain minority owners as well as in charge of day-to-day operations.
The announcement of the purchase disclosed that EQT will align efforts with Freepik’s management team to grow their business, with investments to widen up the in-house content library, and improving the UX and tech platform, which will include the addition of AI technology and integration of tools.
The goal set is to take this Spanish company to penetrate bigger global markets such as the US and Asia.
Worldwide, the economy is downhill at worst and stalling at best. So how come a big private equity company is forking out hundreds of millions of euro to buy a stock media agency right now?
Well, they said there are several market trends that favour the stock media industry in the coming days. For one, the marketing field keeps shifting towards the digital realm. Secondly, social media is creating more and more opportunities for content creators. And finally, mobile media and online gaming are growing spaces with a lot of potentials.
In this context, and given Freepik’s consistent growth and strong numbers, it made sense for them to acquire and further develop this agency into greater markets.
Have you heard of Freepik before? What do you think of this move?