Private equity firms are betting that the rise in online shopping is here to stay, with some of the world’s biggest investment funds eyeing deals for everything from warehouses to delivery companies.
Clipper Logistics Plc, which supports the e-commerce operations of retailers from Asos Plc to Superdry, is attracting interest from buyout firms, people with knowledge of the matter said. Cinven is among potential suitors that have been evaluating the 496 million-pound ($638 million) British company, while CVC Capital Partners has also looked in the past, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.
Silver Lake recently participated in a $650 million funding round for Klarna AB, which lets shoppers pay for online purchases in installments. In August, Advent International acquired a controlling stake in the U.K. operations of package delivery service Hermes.
The coronavirus crisis has created rising e-commerce demand, with customers stuck indoors ordering everything from food delivery to clothing and items for home improvement. That’s attracted private equity firms, which are eager to spend the record piles of capital they’ve amassed even as they grapple with the effects of Covid-19 on the companies they already own.
Permira led a $300 million funding round last month for Mirakl, the French startup behind a platform used to create digital marketplaces, while Warburg Pincus invested in Boston-based Salsify Inc., which helps brands manage their online presence.
Investor appetite for such assets has been highlighted in recent months by the bumper initial public offerings of e-commerce companies BigCommerce Holdings Inc. in the U.S., THG Holdings Ltd. in the U.K. and Allegro in Poland.
Technology dealmaking has been a bright spot for bankers this year. The volume of deals in the industry more than doubled in the third quarter from a year earlier to hit $229 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.