HomeConnectivityLibelium buys Spanish smart cities firm HOPU, sets sights on future IPO

Libelium buys Spanish smart cities firm HOPU, sets sights on future IPO

Spanish IoT provider Libelium has acquired local firm HOP UBIQUITOUS (HOPU), which produces IoT solutions for environmental and meteorological monitoring. The deal follows Libelium’s capital injection from venture capital fund Axon Innovation Growth IV, part of Spain-based Axon Partners Group, a year ago, which also saw the latter take a stake in Libelium. The firm is on the acquisition trail with its new backer, it said. The fee for HOPU was undisclosed.

Libelium started life in 2006 as a spin-off of the University of Zaragoza, led by founding partners Alicia Asín and David Gascón. Gascón’s departed at the end of 2020, and Asín assumed full control of the firm, with a new agenda to drive organic and inorganic growth of the company, including via investment partners. A statement declared its future intention (“an eye on”) to float the company in an initial public offering (IPO), along with its national and international growth, as reasons behind its success in the deal; HOPU had other offers, by all accounts.

Libelium has expanded its workforce by 30 percent already in the past 12 months. It has 80 staff in total, it said; it is unclear if the headcount includes the new influx. HOPU, formed in Ceutí, in Murcia in southeastern Spain, in 2014, has 40 staff, and produces IoT solutions for monitoring air quality, noise pollution, and meteorological parameters. It works with 100-odd cities and customers and has more than 700 devices deployed across Europe. HOPU works with Telefónica, Suez, SICE, Abertis, Cibernos, Signify (Philips), NUNSYS, and Televés, among others.

Libelium said the deal represents “another step” in its strategy to “lead the IoT market”. It said its focus remains on three key verticals, cited as: smart cities, sustainability, and agri-food. It said HOPU enhances its tech portfolio in the “smart cities and infrastructure and sustainability families”. The HOPU office in Murcia will be retained by Libelium, alongside two sites in Zaragoza. The old HOPU business in Murcia has been positioned to lead Libelium’s smart cities operation, with former HOPU chief Antonio Jara as its divisional head.

Asín said: “Libelium formalizes a great alliance through the acquisition of the Murcian company HOPU and reaches a new business milestone in its growth plan. I absolutely identify with HOPU as a company, its leadership style, its organization, its drive and its focus on product and service quality”.

Antonio Jara, formerly chief executive at HOPU, now general manager of smart cities at Libelium, said: “Beyond the fact that Libelium is a benchmark, and the high compatability of both companies, we seek to strengthen a highly segmented market, generate value from Spain and join a business project for growth hand in hand with Axon Partners”.

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