Investment firm Francisco Partners buys controlling stake in Kobalt


After months of speculation about whether Kobalt was up for sale, who might buy it and for how much, finally some concrete news. Investment firm Francisco Partners has acquired a controlling stake in the company, while fellow investors Music (the fund launched by publishing industry veteran Matt Pincus) and Dundee Partners are taking minority stakes too. Pincus will join Kobalt’s board as part of the deal.

How much? Well, that hasn’t been announced, although MBW suggested that the buyout is worth around $750m, with Francisco Partners owning 90% of the business, and the other 10% split between Music, Dundee Partners and Kobalt founder Willard Ahdritz. For now, he’ll stay on as chairman, as will CEO Laurent Hubert and other key members of Kobalt’s c-suite team.

The quote that jumped out at us from the announcement came from Francisco Partners’ Mario Razzini. “We believe Kobalt is and should be the premier platform for independent creators, and we look forward to helping them achieve this both organically and inorganically,” he said. ‘Inorganically’ hints at an appetite for acquisitions in the months ahead.

Written by: Stuart Dredge