PIA acquires UDG United Digital Group

Cate­gory: Deals
23. Janu­ary 2019

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,, Otto, Spotify, Tchibo, Tele­kom, TUI and Unile­ver.

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.

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.

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