KKR pedals to the front of the e-bike pack

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The Dutch cycling team of Bankgiro Batavus leads the pack in pouring rain just outside the town of Gulpen during the Amstel Gold Cycling race in Maastricht, the Netherlands, April 28, 2002.

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LONDON, Jan 24 (Reuters Breakingviews) - KKR (KKR.N) is hopping onto the vogue for electronic bikes. A consortium led by the buyout firm on Monday unveiled a 1.6-billion-euro takeover of Accell (ACCG.AS), the Dutch maker of two-wheeler brands including Batavus, Sparta and Raleigh. It’s a bet that the pandemic-induced boost for battery-powered bicycles has staying power.

KKR is hardly getting a bargain. The offer of 58 euros a share is double Accell’s pre-pandemic price and almost 12 times analysts’ forecasts for EBITDA for this year, after including net debt. That looks punchy considering revenue in the 11 months to last November was up just 4% year-on-year, as shortages of key parts like disc brakes held back sales.

Accell Chief Executive Ton Anbeek, who will continue to lead the company, expects bottlenecks to ease this year. Private ownership will allow him to accelerate investments in software and e-commerce to charge up sales of e-bikes, which already bring in more than half the company’s revenue. KKR is along for the ride. (By Peter Thal Larsen)

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(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are their own.)

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Editing by Neil Unmack and Karen Kwok

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