KKR to Transfer Majority Stake in Unzer to Creditors


Private equity firm KKR is reportedly set to transfer payments firm Unzer to a group of creditors.

The debt providers Alcentra Asset ManagementGoldman Sachs Asset Management and Partners Group have agreed in principle to take over a majority stake in Unzer, pending regulatory approval, Bloomberg reported Friday (Aug. 4), citing unnamed sources. They will provide fresh equity and forego some debt.

KKR, which acquired control of Unzer in 2019, when the firm was still called Heidelpay, will retain a minority stake in the payments firm, according to the report.

“Unzer has recently received substantial funding to accelerate its growth following an agreement with our shareholders and a consortium of existing investors. KKR continues to have an economic interest in Unzer. Please understand that we cannot disclose further details of the investment,” KKR and Unzer said in a statement emailed to PYMNTS.

The statement continued, “The new investment strengthens our capital structure and bolsters our liquidity so that we continue to be ideally positioned to deliver our business plan and make strategic investments that will drive our growth and shape the future of our industry.”

Unzer grew rapidly until 2022, when it was fined by a German regulator for weak anti-money laundering controls, according to the Bloomberg report.

The company said in an August 2022 press release that the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) had completed its special audit of Unzer Group subsidiary Unzer E-Com and declared findings in the areas of new customer onboarding and anti-money laundering (AML) processes during the period ended June 2021. BaFin would then monitor compliance administrative measures it imposed.

“The conclusion of the special audit is an important milestone for us to continue improving our own compliance systems and processes,” Unzer CEO Robert Bueninck said in the release. “Further improving our compliance systems and processes remains a high priority.”

When KKR acquired its majority stake in Heidelpay for $668 million in 2019, it beat several other bidders at a time when mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity in the payment sector was booming as digital alternatives took precedence over cash.

“We see enormous growth potential both organically and through M&A across Europe,” KKR’s Daniel Knottenbelt said at the time. “We will draw on our deep sector knowledge, track record of working with founders and our expertise through 20 years of investing in Germany to further shape Heidelpay’s unique profile.”

At the time of the 2019 acquisition, more than 30,000 merchants used Heidelpay to accept online and mobile payments.