EIB signs a EUR 25 million ‘quasi-equity’ financing deal with podcast company Acast for R&D and international expansion
Agreement supported by Juncker Plan’s European Fund for Strategic Investments
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a EUR 25 million quasi-equity financing agreement with podcast company Acast. As well as independent podcasts, Acast also looks after the audio content of larger publishers, such as the Financial Times, the Guardian, Vogue, Aftonbladet and Billboard. The EIB financing is supported by theEuropean Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the main pillar of theInvestment Plan for Europe, or Juncker Plan.
Acast will use the financing to expand its research and development activities and to further develop its audio content distribution platform. The company is headquartered in Sweden and its services are available in 10 countries. A part of the project costs will go into supporting its international market expansion. The peculiarity of the‘quasi equity’ financing, which the EIB is only able to support with the backing of the Juncker Plan, is that it has the characteristics of an equity stake in the company, yet does not translate into the EIB owning shares in Acast. This type of financing addresses a market failure for non-dilutive growth capital for European businesses: providing equity without affecting the ownership of the company.
European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, responsible for the Euro and Social Dialogue, also in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, said: “The main motivation for creating the Juncker Plan was to provide alternative sources of financing to innovative companies in need of financial support that struggled to obtain a traditional bank loan, and as a result to boost jobs, growth and investment in the EU. Today’s agreement between the EIB and Acast does exactly that, and it does so using a novel form of financing. I wish the company every success with its expansion plans.”
“The EIB’s investment and support of Acast is a true milestone in our company's growth as well as in the future of the global podcasting infrastructure. Today, we are one step closer to our goal of seeking out and supporting all the audio storytellers of the world - giving their stories the audience they deserve,” said Leandro Saucedo, Chief Business Officer of Acast.
EIB Vice-President Alexander Stubb, added: “Everyone loves a good podcast, but it can be hard to make a living off of this type of infotainment. I think it’s important that a European provider for this type of service exists, which gives all voices the possibility to be heard. Acast truly serves as a one-stop-shop for listeners, creators and advertisers, and we’re happy to support the company in its expansion.”
The EIB and AM-Pharma B.V. have signed a EUR 24m financing agreement to accelerate the development of the innovative Dutch clinical stage biopharmaceutical company’s recombinant alkaline phosphatase enzyme (recAP), used to treat acute kidney injury (AKI). The financing will support a multi-national ‘phase III trial’ of recAP in 1,400 patients with sepsis-associated-acute kidney injury (SA-AKI). It also allows the Company to fund the steps required to submit market authorization applications following the trial’s completion. The EIB’s financing is supported under the “Infectious Diseases Finance Facility” (IDFF) of the InnovFin programme under the EU’s research and innovation programme Horizon 2020.
Covestro has agreed a loan with the EIB for EUR 225 million. The loan will provide medium term funding to strengthen Covestro’s research and development (R&D) work in the areas of sustainability and circular economy within the European Union.
The EIB has signed a €480 million loan agreement with LG Chem Wroclaw Energy, the Polish subsidiary of the LG Chem Group that was established to develop the group’s battery production facility in Europe. The financing will be used for the construction and operation of highly automated and innovative manufacturing facilities for advanced lithium-ion (li-ion) cells and batteries for battery-powered electric vehicles (BEVs). The EIB financing will cover around a third of the total project costs, estimated at €1.5 billion. The remainder will come from the company’s own resources and from other financing sources.