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Equistone-backed PIA acquires digital user experience and technology service provider UDG United Digital Group

23 janv. 2019

PIA (Performance Interactive Alliance), a portfolio company of Equistone Partners Europe, today announces the acquisition of UDG United Digital Group, a service provider specialising in digital user experience (UX) and technology, from EQT. The acquisition continues PIA’s strategy of uniting companies that lead the market within the core subsectors of digital marketing, thus enabling PIA to provide integrated customer solutions under a single umbrella. The transaction, the financial details of which are undisclosed, is expected to be completed by the end of February 2019 and remains subject to the approval of the relevant competition authorities. Equistone first invested in PIA Group in 2014 and, since then, the company has made multiple bolt-on acquisitions of additional digital agencies.

UDG was founded in 2011 and since then it has developed into one of the leading digital agencies focused on user experience. Today, it unites expertise in concept & design, digital architecture and project implementation within the field of UX. With an annual turnover of c.€40 million, the company employs around 400 people across five sites. The services on offer range from strategic marketing consulting services to digital design and implementation. UDG serves prestigious clients such as Porsche, Beiersdorf, Volkswagen, Stihl, KSB and Puma.

Christian Tiedemann, CEO of PIA Group, commented: “The acquisition of UDG enables us to broaden both our range of expertise through the addition of top-class specialists and our customer base through the addition of global blue-chip clients. In essence, while PIA and UDG both emerged on the back of the same essential concept, they positioned themselves differently within the market. We are very pleased to be welcoming our new colleagues on board, and from this point on we shall be proudly presenting our clients with a portfolio of services significantly enhanced by top-class UX and excellent technological know-how. Combining strategy, creativity and technology into a data-driven marketing-based approach will enable us to generate significant added value for our clients.”

Dr Marc Arens, Partner at Equistone, said: “UDG is the perfect addition to PIA Group, as it contributes an important service to the company’s range of services in the growing digital-user-experience market in Germany. This will stand PIA in good stead when it comes to the company’s future tenders for major clients, as it is now able to offer a one-stop source for every subsector when it comes to the innovative and integrated digital acquisition and retention of clients.”

Markus Lucht, Mathias Reinhardt and Ulrich Bartholmoes, who worked in leading positions at UDG for many years, will continue to run the operational side of the business as Managing Partners, reporting directly to the CEO of PIA, Christian Tiedemann. Dr Marc Arens and Leander Heyken led the transaction on behalf of Equistone. Equistone was advised on the deal by KPMG (Financial & Tax), Renzenbrink & Partner (Legal M&A), Ashurst (Legal Financing) and GCA Altium (Financing).

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