PIA acquires UDG United Digital Group
Munich, Hamburg — Equistone’s portfolio company PIA (Performance Interactive Alliance) is acquiring UDG United Digital Group, a service provider specializing in digital user experience (UX) and technology. With this acquisition, PIA is continuing its strategy of bringing together market-leading companies from the core areas of digital marketing in their respective sub-disciplines in order to offer integrated customer solutions from a single source. The seller is EQT and the transaction is expected to close by the end of February 2019. The parties have agreed not to disclose details of the transaction. — The acquisition is still subject to approval by the relevant antitrust authorities. Equistone first invested in PIA Group in 2014 and has since supported the management several times in the acquisition of further digital agencies.
UDG was founded in 2011 and has subsequently developed into one of the leading digital agencies in the field of user experience (UX), today combining expertise in concept & design, digital architecture and implementation of projects in this area. The company with a Annual sales of approx. EUR 40 million employs around 400 employees. Services range from strategic marketing consulting to digital design and implementation. UDG serves well-known customers such as Porsche, Beiersdorf, Volkswagen, Stihl, KSB and Puma.
Christian Tiedemann, CEO of the PIA Group, explains: “With the acquisition of UDG, we can expand our range of expertise to include top-class specialists and our customer base to include global blue-chip customers. PIA and UDG essentially originated from the same idea in terms of content, but have positioned themselves in the market with different implementation. We are very pleased to welcome our new colleagues and now proudly present our clients with a service portfolio that is decisively strengthened by top-class UX and excellent technology know-how. By combining strategy, creativity and technology into Data Driven Marketing, we create the decisive added value for our customers.”
Dr. Marc Arens, Partner at Equistone, says: “UDG is an ideal addition for PIA Group, as it adds an important service to the company’s range of services in the growing market for digital user experience in Germany. This will also benefit PIA in future tenders from major clients, as the digital company now offers all sub-disciplines for innovative and integrated digital customer acquisition and retention from a single source.”
The three long-time UDG managers Markus Lucht, Mathias Reinhardt and Ulrich Bartholmös will continue to jointly lead the operational business of UDG as Managing Partners and report directly to PIA CEO Christian Tiedemann. Dr. Marc Arens and Leander Heyken are responsible for the transaction on the part of Equistone. The mid-market investor was advised on the transaction by KPMG (Financial & Tax), Renzenbrink & Partner (Legal M&A), Ashurst (Legal Financing) and GCA Altium (Financing).
About PIA Group
PIA Group is one of the leading digital service providers in Germany. The holding company was founded in 2014 with the participation of Equistone Partners Europe and unites ten successful companies under one umbrella brand: Appico, blueSummit, DELASOCIAL, DYMATRIX, econda, Feed Dynamix, .muse49, Performance Media, SEVEN SQUARED and TAB.
PIA combines strategy, creativity and technology into Data Driven Marketing. As an enabler, PIA Group supports customers with analytical and technological know-how from a single source in the digital transformation of their business models and contributes to new business and customer acquisition. PIA Group sustainably improves the efficiency and effectiveness of all digital sales and marketing activities of B2C and B2B customers and optimizes customer value and customer relationships.
Headquartered in Hamburg and with offices in Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart, Karlsruhe, Frankfurt/Main, Düsseldorf, Belgrade, Tel Aviv, Seoul, Delhi and San Francisco, the companies of the PIA Group with more than 750 experts serve renowned clients such as Allianz, BMW, Bosch, Deichmann, Deutsche Bahn, Deutsche Bank, Lufthansa, Metro, MediaMarkt, Miele, Mobile.de, Otto, Spotify, Tchibo, Telekom, TUI and Unilever. www.pia.me
About UDG United Digital Group
Born as a digital agency from eleven leading specialists in 2011, UDG United Digital Group has grown into a leading agency for topics related to digital transformation in a dynamic, customer-centric and technoid market environment.
Our playing field is digitization. Our DNA is digital. Our thinking is driven by creativity. With this holistic expertise and specialization in the areas of Technology Strategy, IT Development & Digital Solutions, User Experience, Campaigns, Content, Creative & Design and Consulting, as well as in a strategic partnership Digital Performance & Solutions, we combine all important topics for our customers.
UDG United Digital Group develops a fully integrated digital customer experience for international corporations as well as for market-leading, medium-sized companies. www.udg.de
About Equistone Partners Europe
Equistone Partners Europe is one of Europe’s leading equity investors with a team of more than 35 investment specialists in six offices in Germany, Switzerland, France and the UK. Equistone primarily invests in established medium-sized companies with a good market position, above-average growth potential and an enterprise value of between EUR 50 and 500 million. Since its founding, equity has been invested in more than 140 transactions, mainly mid-market buy-outs. The portfolio currently comprises over 40 companies across Europe, including around 20 active investments in Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Equistone is currently investing from its sixth fund, which closed in March 2018 with €2.8 billion at hard cap.