Microsoft deal, key to Bluegrove’s €210 million valuation, is still not signed

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But that hasn’t stopped Bluegrove from actively using the American IT giant in its marketing.

As early as last autumn, during the initial meetings between CageEye and the acquired aquatech start-up Sealab, there was a NOK 2 billion (EUR 190 million) valuation. This valuation, through newly issued shares, is also the starting point for the majority of the settlement to the shareholders of subsea camera firm Sealab which was taken over last month.

On September 9, SalmonBusiness revealed that, according to CageEye’s parent company Bluegrove CEO Bendik S. Søvegjarto, Microsoft was willing to enter into a strategic partnership agreement, as well as a cash injection of EUR 6 million into Bluegrove – on a valuation of EUR 210 million.

A close strategic partnership with Microsoft is also the impression left from a video the company presented on Vimeo.

UPDATE: After SalmonBusiness published this article, the passage in the video showing a meeting between Søvegjarto and Microsoft Norway partner manager Elias Standal has been removed.

At the same time, Søvegjarto announced that it has also entered into a strategic cooperation agreement with German chemical giant BASF. However, Juliana Tischel, vice president corporate communication at BASF, called this agreement only “market rumours”.

Now it turns out that Bluegrove has not landed any deal with Microsoft in Redmond, Seattle.

“We can confirm that we are in a 14 months process with Microsoft discussing eight strategic tracks within global aquaculture. We have had multiple trips to Redmond and Microsoft has participated with many global teams and thought leaders in the process. We are hopeful we will reach an agreement soon, as Microsoft is a natural partner to discuss digital transformation, IoT, analytics, and complex storage and connectivity solutions within agri- and aquatech,” wrote Bluegrove CEO Bendik S. Søvegjarto in an email to SalmonBusiness.

No appointments
“As typical for any MoU process, they are long, and we have no signed definitive agreements or financial investments in place. We are looking forward to finishing our talks and having our farmers benefit from the best solutions to optimize their production in a sustainable way,” he added.

How crucial are the strategic partnership agreements for Bluegrove’s EUR 210 million valuation?

“I am afraid we don’t have anything more to add at this point. When we are, we are delighted to talk to you again. I refer you to my previous statements,” said CageEye communications manager Marloes Eshuis.

However, she can confirm that Bluegrove is a Norwegian limited company, in the process of registering in the Register of Enterprises.

Eshuis did not want to answer why the 2019 annual results of CageEye, Sealab and NorseAqua, have still not been made public.

Vision of the future
SalmonBusiness has been trying all this week to obtain comments on the ongoing negotiations between Bluegrove and Microsoft. Karen Sylte Hammeren, director of communications at Microsoft Norway, has not yet wished to comment on the case.

“I’ll come back to you. If you think it’s going to take some time, I’m sorry. I’m new to Microsoft and just have to check around. Hope for understanding for this,” she wrote in an email to SalmonBusiness.

In a Youtube video, published this week, Bluegrove’s board member Petter Kleppan elaborated on what is the start-up company’s rather colourful vision of the future.


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