Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. (“THL”), a premier private equity firm investing in growth companies, announced today a definitive agreement to acquire AutoStore (the “Company”), a leading robotics and software company providing automation technology to warehouse & distribution facilities around the world. Members of AutoStore’s senior management team and EQT, among others, will continue to hold minority positions in the Company. EQT will also remain on the Board alongside THL going forward. Terms of the transaction, which is expected to close during the third quarter of 2019, were not disclosed.
Founded in 1996 and located in Nedre Vats, Norway, AutoStore designs and engineers patented high-speed robots, highly modular and flexible cube storage grid systems, and proprietary controls software that enable its customers to achieve nearly four times the inventory storage relative to manual alternatives, with enhanced inventory picking speed and accuracy. With over 11,000 robots in operation across 28 countries, AutoStore is the most deployed provider of grid-based, high density goods-to-person systems, participating in the global automated storage and retrieval systems (“ASRS”) market. Global megatrends, including increasing focus on automation and robotization, urbanization and need for space efficient solutions, as well as eCommerce demands requiring increased speed and accuracy, are all expected to continue to fuel AutoStore’s growth globally.
The recapitalization will ensure AutoStore has the resources needed to build upon its leading robotic technology and software platform, accelerate new product innovation for its customers, and execute on broader global growth objectives.
“We are thrilled about the opportunity to partner with the AutoStore team,” said Jim Carlisle, Managing Director at THL. “Through its grid-based technology and proprietary software platform, AutoStore has demonstrated a superb reputation in the marketplace underpinned by its visionary engineering and R&D talent, impressive global distribution network, and exceptional product quality. We are excited to invest behind Karl Johan and his team and look forward to supporting AutoStore’s rapid growth.”
“Today’s announcement marks a great step forward into the next phase of our Company’s growth,” said AutoStore CEO and President, Karl Johan Lier. “We are excited to partner with THL, who have deep industry expertise and financial and operational resources to help accelerate AutoStore’s overall growth strategy, including our continued geographic expansion.”
Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC acted as financial advisor, Kirkland & Ellis LLP acted as legal advisor, PwC acted as accounting and tax advisor and Marsh acted as insurance & benefits advisor to THL.
AutoStore, founded in 1996, is a robot technology company that invented and continues to pioneer Cube Storage Automation; the densest storage solution in the market today. The Company’s focus is to combine software and hardware with human abilities to create the future of warehouse automation. The Company is global with installations in 28 countries in a wide range of industries and end-markets. Sales are distributed, designed, installed and serviced by a network of qualified system integration partners. The Company’s headquarters are in Nedre Vats, Norway, with offices in United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Poland and France.
About Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P.
Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. is a premier private equity firm investing in growth companies headquartered in North America. THL focuses its investment activity across four industry sectors: Business & Financial Services, Consumer & Retail, Healthcare and Media, Information Services & Technology. Since its founding in 1974, THL has raised more than $25 billion of equity capital, invested in over 140 companies and completed more than 400 add-on acquisitions representing an aggregate enterprise value at acquisition of over $200 billion. With dedicated sector and operating teams, THL brings deep domain expertise and resources to build great companies by helping to accelerate growth, improve operations and drive long-term sustainable value in partnership with management.