Blackstone, EQT and the Kuoni and Hugentobler Foundation (KHF) have announced that funds managed by Blackstone have signed a definitive agreement with EQT VII fund and KHF to acquire a majority stake in the world’s largest provider of visa outsourcing services, VFS Global. EQT
Private Equity will remain indirectly invested in the Company with a minority position. VFS Global is headquartered in Zürich, Switzerland and Dubai, UAE. Founded by its current CEO, Zubin Karkaria in 2001, the company pioneered the professionalisation of the visa market.
VFS Global services more than 60 client governments through 3,500 visa application centres in over 140 countries.
Since its inception, the company has successfully processed over 230 million applications, and more than 100 million biometric enrolments. VFS Global plays no role in the decision-making process behind visa applications being granted or denied.
Lionel Assant and Amit Dixit, Europe and Asia Head of Blackstone Private Equity, respectively, said: “VFS spearheaded the visa outsourcing business and is today a global market leader, playing a crucial role in enabling access to travel for millions of people around the world in an efficient and secure manner… We are excited to partner with the company’s CEO Zubin Karkaria and the management team, and the Kuoni and Hugentobler Foundation. We look forward to helping the company capitalise on the global travel recovery, accelerate its digitisation journey, and expand into adjacent services to further accelerate growth and create value for all stakeholders.”
Matthias Wittkowski (pictured), partner within EQT Private Equity’s Advisory Team, said: “We are proud of the remarkable expansion of VFS Global’s market position and substantial improvements in its independent governance, which we achieved together with the VFS Global team in the past five years during EQT’s majority ownership. We are pleased to have found a partner in Blackstone who will continue to support VFS Global in its strong future growth story.”
Zubin Karkaria said: “I and our management team are delighted to partner with Blackstone as VFS Global enters its next phase of growth. On behalf of the entire VFS Global team, I want to thank EQT for the very collaborative and value enhancing partnership over the past five years. We now look forward to further cementing and building upon our market-leading position with the help of Blackstone’s scale, expertise, and global network.”