BC Partners Acquires Major Stake in Digital-Services Agency Valtech

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Private-equity firm BC Partners is acquiring a significant stake in Valtech SE as part of a deal valuing the digital-services agency at $1.4 billion, according to the companies, a bet that brands will increasingly rely on technology and data to retain existing customers and win new ones.

The deal, which could be announced as soon as Tuesday, makes BC Partners Valtech’s largest shareholder. The buyout firm and privately held Valtech declined to specify the exact investment.

Valtech’s management and existing shareholders including Verlinvest, a Belgian investment group started by founding families of

Anheuser-Busch InBev SA,

are also reinvesting in the London-based company.

Founded in 1993, Valtech offers marketing and other digital services to help businesses improve customer experience online or in-store to boost sales.

Valtech, which employs over 4,000 people, expects to grow annual revenue by 30% this year. It services a roster of blue-chip brands including

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton,

the luxury goods conglomerate, and beverage and snack food company

PepsiCo Inc.

Valtech has 50 offices in 18 countries across Europe, the Americas and parts of Asia and the Middle East. The company, whose competitors include business and technology services companies

Accenture

PLC and

Publicis Groupe SA,

is counting on the new funds to gain added scale.

BC Partners, which maintains headquarters in London and New York, is betting on growing demand for Valtech’s expertise in online commerce. The use of

Amazon.com Inc.

and other e-commerce websites, which accelerated during the pandemic, is spurring businesses to adopt new ways of connecting directly with customers.

The buyout firm oversees €33 billion, equivalent to $39.2 billion in assets. It is known for deals including leading the $8 billion buyout of PetSmart, Inc. in 2015. The pet food retailer later acquired online rival Chewy, Inc.

The Valtech investment is part of the firm’s holdings in technology, media and telecom. But it also complements BC Partners’ investments in other sectors such as consumer & retail, healthcare and industrials, which could potentially benefit from Valtech’s services.

One Valtech customer, French cosmetics giant L’Oréal SA, used the agency to build new websites across 60 countries to get new beauty products and services to market faster,

Olivier Padiou,

Valtech’s chief executive, said.

The websites can be tailored to specific markets without undermining L’Oreal’s control over the brands, he said.

Valtech also targets the auto industry. The company has a joint venture with German auto maker

Volkswagen AG

to develop services such as a technology that allows a small group of people to share the same car. Using their mobile devices, individuals can book to use the vehicle and know ahead of time if it needs to be charged.

“Regardless of the sector, businesses increasingly need to have an individual relationship with the end customer,” said BC Partners Chairman

Raymond Svider.

Write to Ben Dummett at ben.dummett@wsj.com

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