Comments on the announcement of EQT’s lock-up revision
The below letter has been distributed to EQT's clients as a comment on the announcement of EQT's lock-up revision.
We would like to update you on the recent changes to the EQT AB share lock-up for the Partners in the firm and the case with the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (“SFSA”).
We are always seeking ways to improve EQT - not only to stay at the forefront of the industry - but also to ensure that EQT as a firm has the best possible framework for continued and sustainable growth. And most importantly, a dedicated team focused on and incentivized to create strong, long-term returns in a responsible way.
Earlier in the year we identified - based on approaches from stakeholders - a need to improve the initial lock-up structure from the IPO in 2019. The issue brought up by several stakeholders related to the releases from lock-ups in the agreements with Partners, which, given the increase in the value of the shares were large and expected to materialize in the short period between September 2022 and 2024 (as disclosed in the prospectus in 2019). We concluded that the matter had to be handled proactively for both internal and external reasons.
On 7 September, EQT thus announced a lock-up revision with several components: doubling the Partners’ lock-up period, on average, and a partial lock-up release giving Partners the opportunity to sell some shares now one year earlier. In total, 11 percent of Partners’ shares were sold as compared to the original lock-up release of 25 percent. A key element to improve and increase alignment with our clients was further that Partners agreed to also commit to invest 50 percent of the net proceeds from the partial share sale into EQT’s upcoming funds, and that EQT now has a right to coordinate share sales going forward.
We have received positive feedback on the benefits of the new structure for the firm as a whole as it creates a stronger long-term alignment; and the shares were sold to high quality institutions and families from around the world. Thank you to the many of you who have expressed support and backing of this transaction.
Having said this, instigated by one Swedish newspaper, on 14 September the SFSA opened an inquiry into EQT AB which relates to the handling of information in connection with the transaction, and more specifically, the timing of the announcement. We announced the opening of this inquiry on our website (link). The informal inquiry procedurally became a formal one on 24 September.
Our opinion is that we have done everything correctly, having had continuous leading external expert legal advice on the matter and executing the transaction in accordance with European market standard practice. However, we do take all regulatory inquiries very seriously and are collaborating fully with the SFSA and await their assessment. At this point in time, we do not know when the case will be resolved but will keep you duly updated.
Given our focus on being the most reputable investor and owner, we are personally staying very close and are supporting our CFO, COO and legal team in the matter.
Do not hesitate to reach out to us, or any of your contacts in the EQT Coverage team, directly - we are more than happy to engage on any questions or concerns you may have. And thank you, as always, for your continued support.
Conni Jonsson, Founder & Chairperson
Christian Sinding, CEO & Managing Partner