German Equity Partners IV (‘GEP IV’ or ‘the fund’), a private equity fund managed by the independent German investment company ECM Equity Capital Management GmbH (‘ECM’), has acquired a majority stake in WIENERS+WIENERS GmbH (‘WIENERS+WIENERS’), one of Germany’s leading providers of premium language services for business, advertising and financial texts. Previous owner Caldec Holding GmbH (‘Caldec’), a corporate group that specialises in corporate succession situations and accompanying growth companies with its own capital and operational expertise, will continue to be invested in WIENERS+WIENERS following this transaction, as will the company’s management. The closing of the transaction will take place on 30 June 2016. The parties have agreed to not disclose the purchase price or any additional details of the transaction.
Together with ECM, a financially strong investor with substantial experience in the implementation of growth strategies, WIENERS+WIENERS plans to accelerate the dynamic growth course it has successfully pursued since the investment by Caldec in 2011. To realise further organic revenue growth and broaden its already strong position in the business of high-quality translation services, WIENERS+WIENERS plans to further expand its staff, thus strengthening collaboration with existing customers. In addition, the expansion of its sales team will enable the company to tap into new markets and acquire new customers. Moreover, the company plans to take an active role in the consolidation of the attractive language services market in German-speaking Europe, which – due to its strong fragmentation – still offers considerable potential. Following the successful acquisition of SprachKontor Hamburg GmbH in 2014, further acquisitions in German metropolitan areas and elsewhere in German-speaking countries are to be pursued.
From proofreading office to a professional language services provider
WIENERS+WIENERS translates and proofreads texts whose authors cannot afford mistakes: catalogues, annual reports, mailings, fund prospectuses, slogans, sales folders, posters, websites and many others. To this end, WIENERS+WIENERS relies on a global network of more than 900 hand-picked native-language translators and proofreaders and offers translation services in more than 70 different languages – from Arabic to Zulu. Today, the company employs more than 60 people, including 18 language experts in its own internal proofreading office.
Since its founding in 1990 by advertising specialist Ralf Wieners, the company has served a broad portfolio of more than 2,000 customers annually, consisting of advertising agencies and corporate marketing departments. With around 700 customers in the field of independent advertising agencies alone, WIENERS+WIENERS is the undisputed leader in this market segment in Germany. Since the acquisition by Caldec in 2011, the new owner-management has developed processes and systems further, expanded the staff, realised significant organic and profitable growth with both existing and new customers and thus created a powerful platform for additional growth.
The increasing digitisation of the marketing industry, as well as the globalisation of the exchange of goods and information, is driving the continuously growing demand for multilingual content. Experienced native speakers are therefore needed in the field of marketing and corporate communication to quickly and accurately relay complicated information in the respective languages. Very few companies are able to manage this task on their own. With a high degree of linguistic, technological and process-related expertise, a distinct focus on customer needs, permanently employed project managers and proofreaders as well as flexible capacities, WIENERS+WIENERS offers its customers quick and reliable execution of complex multilingual translation projects.
Continuity in management
Kai-Dominik Weyel will continue to act as the sole managing partner of WIENERS+WIENERS. Hermann Wendelstadt, managing partner of Caldec and – since the acquisition by Caldec in 2011 – also managing partner at WIENERS+WIENERS responsible for customer service, sales and marketing, will continue as a member of the advisory board of WIENERS+WIENERS to be established in due course. In this role, he will support the future growth path, the evaluation of strategic options and, in particular, the acquisition of additional companies in the premium segment of language services.
Kai-Dominik Weyel, managing partner of WIENERS+WIENERS, stated: ‘Since Caldec’s acquisition of WIENERS+WIENERS, we have positioned the company as a provider of premium and high-quality translation and proofreading services and established a dynamically growing company. ECM has an impressive track record and considerable expertise in the implementation of growth processes and buy-and-build strategies. The market for language services in German-speaking countries still offers substantial potential for consolidation and therefore strategic growth opportunities for us. We want to realise these together with ECM and actively shape the continued consolidation in this sector.’
Hermann Wendelstadt, managing partner of Caldec, emphasised: ‘Right from the beginning, the ECM team impressed us with its understanding of medium-sized service providers and their markets. Additionally, our discussions were always characterised by a high degree of mutual trust and a commitment to work together. Like Caldec, ECM stands for long-term commitment – and this was particularly important to us in the interests of the company, its employees and its customers. We are therefore confident to have found in the ECM-managed fund the ideal new majority owner for WIENERS+WIENERS as it enters the next phase of growth.’
Florian Kähler, partner at ECM, added: ‘WIENERS+WIENERS has a strong brand and an excellent position in the premium segment of high-quality language services in Germany. On top of that, they also have excellent relationships with their customers across all sectors of the economy. We are convinced of the company’s growth potential as an ideal platform for active industry consolidation in the extremely attractive and highly fragmented language services market in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. We look forward to supporting the continued growth and the buy-and-build strategy of WIENERS+WIENERS with our experience and in collaboration with Mr Weyel and Mr Wendelstadt.’
Following Bergmann Automotive, Medifox (the leading software provider in the care market) and the leading travel operator Leitner, the acquisition of WIENERS+WIENERS marks the fourth investment of GEP IV. The fund is equipped with €230 million in equity capital, is managed exclusively by ECM and strives for majority investments in medium-sized enterprises in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. For this transaction, GEP IV was advised by Ernst & Young (Finance & Tax). Legal consultation was provided by Allen & Overy, structuring by King & Wood Mallesons, market due diligence by goetzpartners and the insurance review by Willis. The parties at ECM responsible for the transaction are Florian Kähler, Alexander Schönborn and Max Thielemann. Legal consultation for Caldec Holding was provided by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, transaction advice by William Blair and the financial advice by Deloitte.
About WIENERS+WIENERS GmbH
Located in Ahrensburg (near Hamburg) and founded in 1990, WIENERS+WIENERS GmbH is a leading provider of premium translation, adaptation, editing and proofreading services for business, advertising and financial texts in Germany. The company’s nearly 2,000 customers annually include numerous leading major German advertising agencies and large companies from the worlds of industry and business, as well as a number of small and medium-sized enterprises. A global network of native-speaker translators with the skills of copywriters delivers expert translations and adaptations in more than 70 languages – with high quality guaranteed. Over 60 permanent employees ensure the fast and reliable handling of even large and complex multilingual projects. Additional information at: www.wienersundwieners.de
About Caldec Holding GmbH
Founded in 2009, Caldec Holding is a corporate group headquartered in Hamburg that specialises in the long-term investment in and operative management of medium-sized companies. The partners – Markus Metyas and brothers Florian and Hermann Wendelstadt – invest exclusively their own capital. With a long-term approach, Caldec supports companies in Germany with strong growth potential but low investment intensity (e.g. in the corporate services, outsourcing, software and trade sectors) on their way towards market leadership. Caldec considers itself a partner to management teams and their companies. Additional information at: www.caldec.de
On behalf of ECM:
Charles Barker Corporate Communications GmbH
Jan Hromadko, Kornelia Spodzieja, telephone: +49 (0)69 7940 9044
Tina Berns, marketing, telephone: +49 (0)4102 2350
For Caldec Holding GmbH:
Hermann Wendelstadt, telephone: +49 (0)40 411 199 731