LEGO Group owner KIRKBI takes $417mn, 49.8% stake in Välinge from KKR

By Johan De Mulder

The Kirk Kristiansen family, majority owners of the LEGO Group, have acquired a 49.8% stake in Swedish industrial R&D firm Välinge for €417mn.

KIRKBI, the family's investment company, has acquired the stake from KKR, the global investment firm which has earned a significant profit having bought the same interest for €167mn two years ago.

The agreement fits with KIRKBI's strategy of concentrating investment on flourishing businesses in northern Europe, with its focus expected to be on supporting the international commercialisation of Välinge's products.

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Välinge, which was founded in 1993, specialises in wood engineering and technology and currently holds 1,800, though this number is set to increase to over 10,000 in the coming years.

"We are very excited about the new ownership cooperation, which will help us continue the development and global roll-out of new technologies and ultimately benefit our customers and end-users," said Niclas Håkansson, its CEO.

Thomas Lau Schleicher, Chief Investment Officer at KIRKBI, added: "We are very satisfied to be a part of the ongoing journey for Välinge.

"The company has demonstrated a strong ability to create value through the floor locking IP developed for its customers and partners in the flooring industry. But most importantly, Välinge's transformation from a technology-based to a more industrial company across many categories of surface technology will provide new, attractive revenue streams."

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