Drake Star Wins Europe M&A Deal of the Year at the 13th Annual M&A Atlas Awards

LONDON | December 13th, 2021 – Drake Star has won “Europe M&A Deal of the Year” for the sale of Freepik Company, S.L. (“Freepik”), a global leader in the micro-stock segment of the Visual Content sector, to EQT Mid Market Europe Partners (“EQT”) at the 13th Annual M&A Atlas Awards.

Drake Star has built a reputation of innovative deal-making underscored by many industry recognitions. This award adds to the firm’s trophy case of 12 previous M&A Advisor Awards and a total of 36 major recognitions since 2013 – including 10 “Firm of The Year” awards.

The M&A Atlas Awards are independently governed awards that honor excellence in executing growth-generating deals, top dealmakers, influential leaders, and outstanding firms from the small, middle to large-cap segments in the categories of private equity firms, lenders, investment banks, legal and services providers.

The acquisition of Freepik represents a landmark transaction in the broader technology and digital media sectors in Europe and one of the largest European private equity-backed technology M&A transactions in 2020. This is particularly notable given the difficult COVID-19 environment at the time of the transaction. Drake Star managed a highly competitive process featuring a number of strategic and private equity parties.

Eric Ward, Partner for the sale of Freepik commented: “It’s a real privilege and honour to have this transaction recognized as the European M&A deal of the year by the Annual M&A Atlas Awards; particularly given the level of deal activity in 2021. A special thank you to my colleagues Kasper Petersen and Soroush Bahreini for their collaborative work and efforts in delivering such a successful outcome. The real credit belongs to the founders of Freepik - Alejandro Blanes, Pablo Blanes, and Joaquin Cuenca - and the entire Freepik employees for building such a successful business as well as the EQT team for their unwavering commitment in getting this transaction done.”

Kasper Petersen, Partner for the sale of Freepik commented: “In our line of work, we have the privilege of working with some truly exceptional companies and people behind them. Freepik is certainly one of those. Throughout this whole process, very much affected by COVID-19, both the Freepik team and its new owners EQT have been exceptional. A huge thank you to all the people involved and not least to the team at Drake Star Partners, Eric Ward, and Soroush Bahreini.”

The winners’ virtual ceremony was held on December 9th in conjunction with the Global Growth and Deals, Annual Forum.

Drake Star’s team members involved in the transaction: Eric Ward, Kasper Petersen, and Soroush Bahrein

For further inquiries please contact:

Eric Ward
Partner | +44 (0)77400 52486

Kasper Petersen
Partner | +44 (0)75117 37849

Media Inquiries:

Kateryna Mamyko

Director of Marketing 

About Global M&A Network

Global M&A Network produces world-class conferences and the Gold Standard of Performance, the M&A ATLAS AWARDS™® for mergers, acquisitions, turnaround, and alternative investor communities. Conferences are organized to facilitate discussion, debate, and direct inquiry of ideas by enlisting eminent leaders and experts to share their business-building ideas, deal intelligence, and strategies. Success stems from senior management’s 40 plus years of collective experience executing preeminent financial industry programs in America, Europe, Asia, Australia, Latin America, Africa, and Middle East regions. Significantly, the senior team has worked for leading Wall Street investment banking firms; media; conferences, and strategic consulting organizations.

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For further inquiries, please contact:

Eric Ward
Managing Partner Consumer & Retail Tech Digital Media Software/SaaS


Kasper Kruse Petersen
Partner FinTech Software/SaaS

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