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Italy gets its second startup unicorn as Silver Lake agrees Facile.it buyout from EQT, Oakley Capital

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Tech-focused private equity major Silver Lake has agreed to buy a majority stake in online price comparison platform Facile.it from fellow buyout giant EQT, creating Italy’s second-ever startup unicorn.

Oakley Capital was also a seller, eight years after it picked up a majority stake in Facile through its OCPE II Master vehicle.

EQT invested in 2018, using its weighty €10.75bn eighth fund.

Milan-headquartered Facile originated in 2008 with the pioneering offer of motor insurance brokerage online, for which it is now the market leader in Italy.

Facile has since diversified its offering to gas and power, broadband, mortgages, consumer loans and more recently a new car sales marketplace platform.

It currently reaches a base of over four million unique monthly users across its website, 39 stores, and over three thousand agents, and has grown its EBITDA by more than 20% on average over the last four years.

Christian Lucas, co-head of Silver Lake EMEA, said, “Facile is an exceptional business with a differentiated and powerful value proposition for customers, channel partners and financial service providers.

“…the company is now Italy’s leading online destination for consumers to compare prices with a market-leading tech platform and unique omnichannel capabilities across its agent networks and stores.”

Dominik Stein, partner at EQT private equity, added, “Facile is a great example of how EQT can help unlock a company’s full potential by combining our local-with-locals approach and deep sector expertise, with our long experience from developing tech companies.”

The deal is expected to close in Q3 this year.

Italy has a notable absence of unicorns compared to other big European economies, with its only previous startup unicorn payments platform Scalapay.

Silver Lake is currently in the market with its seventh flagship fundraise, just a couple of years after soaring to a $20bn hard cap close for Fund VI.

Last year Oakley stormed past its target for its first lower mid-market fundraise, hitting about €455m after just six months in the market.

The firm smashed the target for its fourth buyout fund two years earlier by reaching €1.46bn for its final close.

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