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goetzpartners has advised Capvis, the leading Swiss private equity firm, during the announced acquisition of a majority stake in Wer liefert was ("wlw"), the leading B2B marketplace in Germany. Capvis, who has considerable experience and success in promoting the growth of leading medium-sized companies, intends to further expand the product portfolio and to accelerate the internationalization of the B2B marketplace. Together with the existing “Wer liefert was” management, Capvis is acquiring the company from the previous majority owner Paragon Partners. The parties agreed not to disclose the financial details of the transaction and its completion is subject to antitrust and customary regulatory approvals. The contract was signed on January 31st, 2017.
Since August 2016, wlw has been working towards becoming Europe’s largest B2B network along with its affiliate EUROPAGES. There are currently 2.5m suppliers with 5.5m B2B products in 26 languages on both platforms, which are visited by 3.4m unique users monthly and generate annual turnover of EUR 45m. Peter F. Schmid, CEO of wlw, welcomes the involvement of the new investor: “We thank Paragon Partners for their entrepreneurial support in recent years and are very pleased to be able to push ahead with our growth strategy along with Capvis. This allows us to further develop our position as the leading B2B marketplace in Europe and greatly expand our product range for SMEs.”
Capvis will provide support to the management during the next growth phase. Justin Kent, the responsible investment director, considers the time to be right for the forthcoming cooperation. “Although wlw and EUROPAGES, which we also intend to acquire, are already excellent companies, we agree with the management that there is great potential for value enhancement, further growth and the expansion of market leadership in Europe. We plan to make targeted use of acquisitions as we push ahead together.”
Capvis has retained goetzpartners Corporate Finance as its exclusive financial advisor. This transaction underpins goetzpartners Corporate Finance experience in the digital sector as well as its competence in providing comprehensive buy-side support incl. process management, seller and internal decision bodies communication, advisor coordination, financial modelling, and financing support.
wlw is the leading online B2B marketplace in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Being the most-visited website for professional purchases, wlw provides millions of products and services in the B2B section. About 540,000 suppliers, producers, distributors and service providers get in touch with 1.3m genuine buyers every month via the platform. wlw has its headquarters in Hamburg and 200 employees. The company was founded in 1932 and was the first publisher of printed reference material for commercial buyers. Since 1995 wlw has been offering its services online.
Capvis is a leading private equity firm based in Switzerland. With a current fund volume of EUR 720m Capvis focuses on majority holdings in leading mid-sized companies in German-speaking Europe and in Northern Italy. Since 1990 Capvis has completed 51 transactions with a total volume of more than EUR 5bn. Capvis Equity Partners AG is the exclusive advisor to the general partners of the Capvis Private Equity Funds.
Dr. Gernot Wunderle, Managing Partner E-MAIL
Milan Saric, Director E-MAIL
Matthias Volk, Associate
Leonard Rasche, Analyst
Julius Rieker, Analyst