Stockholm-based private equity major EQT is set to announce the acquisition of a majority stake in South Korean integrated security services company SK Shieldus, according to media reports.
SK Shieldus is a subsidiary of SK Group, the second-largest conglomerate in South Korea after Samsung Group. The group’s businesses span petroleum refining, telecommunications, construction, wholesale and retail, semiconductors, and logistics.
EQT is reported to be acquiring a roughly 68% interest in the company for about $2.3 billion.
The transaction reportedly involves acquiring roughly half of SK Square’s current stake in the company and the entire 36.9% stake held by a consortium led by Macquarie Korea Asset Management.
EQT is reported to be looking to purchase additional shares to become SK Shieldus’ largest shareholder. After the deal, SK Square, the investment management arm of SK Group, will retain a 32% stake in SK Shieldus.
DealStreetAsia has contacted EQT for comment.
SK Square CEO Park Jung-ho was reported to have said at an event in Barcelona this week that the deal values SK Shieldus at 5 trillion won, including debt. This is nearly double the 3 trillion won it was valued at when SK Telecom first acquired the company in 2018.
At the time, SK Telecom bought out the company known as ADT Caps from the Carlyle Group, before merging it with subsidiary SK Infosec in 2021.
SK Shieldus will join a group of cybersecurity companies already in EQT’s global portfolio. These include EC-Council, acquired in September 2021; Basel-based Open Systems; San Francisco-based startup HackerOne; and Israeli startup CYE.
EQT is one of the biggest investors based in Europe, with some 50 billion euros in dry powder. The group invests across buyout, growth, infrastructure, and real estate strategies and had recently ramped up its Asia operations with the acquisition of Baring Private Equity Asia.
At a briefing in January, EQT CEO and managing partner Christian Sinding said the group’s fundraising for 2023 will be focused on infrastructure. The group is also understood to be raising a new Baring Private Equity Asia EQT Mid-Market Growth Fund.