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Equistone investment to establish digital marketing alliance

27 mars 2014

"‹Four German companies providing "œdata driven performance marketing solutions", Performance Media, econda, Blue Summit Media and DELASOCIAL, have agreed to consolidate their offerings under one holding company. The newly formed group is called Performance Interactive Alliance (PIA). PIA is backed by funds managed by Equistone Partners Europe Limited ("œEquistone"), one of Europe"™s leading mid-market private equity managers, which will hold a majority stake in the Group.

Equistone’s investment will support the development of the Performance Interactive Alliance through organic and acquisitive growth, particularly in the German, Austrian and Swiss markets. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval.

Under one holding company, the four businesses will continue to operate in their individual capacities, led by each of their respective Chief Executives, but offer an integrated range of services to clients going forward.

Performance Media: Germany’s fastest growing consultancy in the online advertising and marketing sector

Blue Summit Media: An online marketing business which plans and implements search engine optimisation (SEO) and search engine advertising (SEA) campaigns

econda: An agency working with e-commerce clients to provide web analysis and sales recommendations for online shoppers

DELASOCIAL: A leading German social media and communications agency focusing on digital marketing, social media and brand engagement

The headquarters of PIA will be based in Hamburg, Germany. The Group employs more than 360 people across offices in Hamburg, Munich, Berlin, Düsseldorf and Karlsruhe, as well as at a software development site in Belgrade, Serbia, and serves more than 900 clients including Lufthansa, Swarovski and Montblanc. The aggregated external revenue of the four businesses was ca. €140 million in 2013.

Through PIA, clients will benefit from access to the following integrated services: display advertising and marketing (Performance Media), website analytics solutions (econda), SEO and SEA campaigns (Blue Summit Media) and social media marketing and brand management (DELASOCIAL). With Equistone’s support, Performance Interactive Alliance plans to grow its presence in the digital marketing sector and strengthen its leading position in Germany through the acquisition of complementary businesses.

Dirk Schekerka, a Director at Equistone Partners Europe, commented: “We see a strong potential for growth in the digital marketing sector, particularly in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, but also globally. With the establishment of PIA, we have been able to unite four German companies from the core areas of digital marketing, which are also the market leaders in their respective sectors. As a result, we are now able to provide clients with an integrated offering from a single source.”

Dirk Schekerka, Dr. Marc Arens and Leander Heyken led the transaction for Equistone.

Equistone was advised on the deal by Pöllath + Partners (LDD and legal advise), KPMG (FDD, TDD and structuring), N+1 (debt advisor), Ashurst (legal financing advise) and L.E.K. Consulting (CDD).

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