Centares and Knighthead to back Global Blue

Centares and Knighthead have agreed to invest $225 million in Global Blue Group Holding AG.

Centares and Knighthead have agreed to invest $225 million in Global Blue Group Holding AG. Headquartered in Switzerland, Global Blue provides information technology services.


EYSINS, Switzerland–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Global Blue Group Holding AG (NYSE: GB and GB.WS), the leading strategic technology and payments partner that empowers retailers to improve their performance while enhancing the shoppers’ experience, is pleased to announce it has entered into an investment agreement with CK Opportunities Fund I, LP (“CK Opportunities”), an investment fund co-managed by Certares Opportunities LLC (“Certares”), a global travel, tourism and hospitality investment firm, and Knighthead Opportunities Capital Management, LLC (“Knighthead”), a leading credit investment management firm. The agreement is subject to Global Blue shareholder approval at the Company’s Extraordinary General Meeting, expected to take place by June 2022.

CK Opportunities has agreed to invest $225 million, of which $180 million is for Series B preferred shares and $45 million is for common shares. The new Series B preferred shares will be issued at a price of $8.50 per share, a premium of approximately 62% to yesterday’s closing price of $5.24. The Series B preferred stock will carry a 5% annual pay-in-kind dividend rate and are convertible into approximately 21 million registered common shares on a one-for-one and basis. The $45 million of common stock will be issued at yesterday’s closing price, translating to approximately 9 million shares.

CK Opportunities’ as-converted ownership in Global Blue will be just over 13% of the total issued share capital on a fully-diluted basis following the issuance of all of the new Series B preferred shares and registered common shares.

Global Blue intends to use the funds to continue pursuing strategic add-on acquisitions in omnichannel Retail Technology and to fund working capital requirements associated with the significant recovery underway in its core Tax-Free Shopping business, after two years of reduced activity due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Certares’ and its affiliates’ global reach into the travel and tourism industry, deep portfolio of travel assets, and domain expertise is expected to create new opportunities for Global Blue. Knighthead’s expertise in credit and liquidity solutions to fund growth will help Global Blue capture a greater share of the market as travel continues to recover. Tom Klein, Senior Managing Director of Certares who will join the board of Global Blue, has three decades of operating and investing experience in the travel and tourism tech ecosystem, including as CEO and President of Sabre Inc.

Jacques Stern, Global Blue CEO said: “We are excited to welcome our new investors, Certares and Knighthead, a great combination of travel investors and innovative capital providers. This investment will enable Global Blue to take full advantage of the anticipated robust travel recovery while continuing to pursue our external and internal growth plans in Payment and Retail Tech.”

Tom Klein of Certares added: “Global Blue is a company benefiting from secular growth; particularly in the luxury retail market; cyclical recovery, and accelerating opportunities as omnichannel retailers increasingly adopt new solutions from strategic tech partners like Global Blue. We, and our partners at Knighthead, look forward to working with Global Blue’s exceptional management team to help drive value for Global Blue’s shareholders and stakeholders.”

A copy of the agreement can be obtained from the Securities and Exchange Commission’s website at www.sec.gov or the investor section of the Company’s website at Global Blue Group Holding AG – Investor Relations.

Global Blue pioneered the concept of Tax Free Shopping 40 years ago. Through continuous innovation, we have become the leading strategic technology and payments partner, empowering retailers to improve their performance and shoppers to enhance their experience.