P+P advised Equistone Partners Europe on its investment in a consortium of four company groups in the field of automated online marketing

March 2014

Four German marketing company groups (PERFORMANCE MEDIA DEUTSCHLAND GmbH in Hamburg, Blue Summit Media GmbH in Munich, DeLaSocial GmbH in Hamburg and ECONDA GmbH in Karlsruhe) have merged with the participation of Equistone Partners Europe and now operate under the newly formed holding company PIA Performance Interactive Alliance für digitales Marketing GmbH (PIA Holding). The transaction still requires the approval of the German and Austrian antitrust authorities.

This deal unites four suppliers of online marketing solutions, the combined external sales of which already equaled approximately 140 million Euro in 2013, in the new PIA Holding. In the future, PIA Holding, with its company headquarters in Hamburg, will employ over 360 people in Hamburg, Munich, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Karlsruhe and Belgrade. PIA Holding will serve more than 900 clients, including well-known companies such as Lufthansa, Swarovski and Montblanc.

The new platform will develop into a leading supplier in the online marketing sector. In the medium-term, Equistone Partners Europe plans to complement Performance Interactive Alliance with other companies from the marketing automation sector and thereby facilitate the growth of the group, particularly in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

PERFORMANCE MEDIA, ECONDA, Blue Summit Media and DeLaSocial will continue to perform and operate in the market under their current names and the management of these companies will remain.

Background

PERFORMANCE MEDIA

The German agency for digital media planning, founded in 2005, has approximately 170 employees in Hamburg and Düsseldorf (Digital Media), as well as in the research and development facilities in Belgrade. The company has over 100 clients from various sectors. According to Google, Performance Advertising has the greatest reach in Germany at 78% (comsCore). Performance Media Gruppe achieved external sales of approximately EUR 100 million.

ECONDA

econda GmbH has its company headquarters in Karlsruhe and is a specialist for high-end web analysis for e-commerce clients. econda performs successfully for over 1000 companies. The econda team advises its clients using its web analytics expertise based on hundreds of successful projects. econda clients include, among others, s.Oliver, MEXX, KLiNGEL, Heine, Witt Weiden, HSE24, BADER, billiger.de, swoodoo, Deichmann, Yatego, real and Strenesse.

Blue Summit Media

Blue Summit Media plans, operates and optimizes SEA and SEO (search engine advertising and optimization) campaigns. The strengths of Blue Summit Media are harmonizing of performance-oriented SEA and SEO campaigns and providing strategic advice. In Munich, Hamburg and Vienna, the agency and its 100+ permanent employees serve clients in the retail, travel, finance, automotive, media and entertainment sectors. Its clients include national and international companies such as Austrian Airlines, BASE, Conrad, Germanwings, Lufthansa, OTTO and the publishing group Handelsblatt.

DeLaSocial

The social media and communications agency DeLaSocial has an international team of about 60 digital natives from six countries and specializes in social media, public relations, digital marketing, content marketing and brand engagement. DeLaSocial serves companies, brands and products from the lifestyle, luxury, FMCG, interactive entertainment, technology and capital goods sectors such as, among others, BMW, Disney, Montblanc, Logitech, Signal Iduna, Swarovski, Sony Pictures, W.L. Gore, Warner Bros..

P+P partners Ralf Bergjan (lead) and Benedikt Hohaus (management participation) advised Equistone Partners Europe, supported by associates Stefan Benz, Verena Schäfer, Adam Denes and Julian Winkler.

Equistone was also advised by:

Ashurst LLP (Finance): Bernd Egbers (Partner), Carsten Endres (Senior Associate), Thomas Freund (Associate), Susanne Kasnitz (Transaction Manager), all Munich

Dechert LLP (Antitrust Law): Hans Jürgen Meyer-Lindemann (Partner), Clemens Graf York von Wartenburg (Counsel), both Brussels

Sellers were advised by:

Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH: Jörgen Tielmann LL.M. (Partner, Hamburg) for PERFORMANCE MEDIA group

DLA Piper UK LLP, Munich: Matthias Lupp (Partner), Ksenia Ilina (Counsel), Magdalena Neueder (Associate) for ECONDA and DeLaSocial group

Hoffmann Böttger Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH, Munich: Michael Hoffmann (Partner) for Blue Summit Media group