Clearwater International has acted as sole financial adviser to Induc GmbH (Induc) and co-investors on the sale of a minority stake in Grundig Business Systems GmbH, Bayreuth, Germany (GBS), to VR Equitypartner GmbH (VREP). Induc, the co-investors and management will retain the majority of GBS’ shares. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval.
GBS was founded in 2001 as a spin-off from Grundig AG. In 2003, it was acquired by financial investor Induc and co-investors, including management. For over 60 years the company has been widely recognised as one of the market leaders for professional audio processing solutions such as dictation and audio recording amongst others, and has successfully transformed its business model from analogue to digital solutions. GBS supplies its innovative audio processing solutions primarily to legal, healthcare and public administration customers.
Based on its strong in-house electronics manufacturing services (EMS) and mechatronic capabilities, GBS has consistently increased its contract manufacturing EMS business with highly renowned customers from various sectors, such as automotive, industrials, entertainment, energy and healthcare. GBS currently employs more than 160 employees at two locations in Germany, with two-thirds of GBS’ production volume from the EMS segment. GBS is consistently ranked amongst Germany’s TOP 100 most innovative mid-sized companies.
VREP is a private equity company and a subsidiary of DZ Bank, Germany’s leading co-operative bank. The private equity house is one of the leading and most experienced private equity financiers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland with a focus on mid-sized businesses.
The Clearwater International team was led by Managing Partner Tobias Schätzmüller with assistance of Analysts Pierre Knoche and Julian Feulner. The German industrials team headed by Managing Partner Markus Otto supported the deal team with its EMS sector know how.
Dr. Frank Toefflinger, Managing Partner at Induc GmbH said: “With VREP we have found a strong and reliable long-term oriented partner with significant industry expertise to support GBS’ further development. We are particularly pleased that management increased their shareholding in connection with this transaction”
Roland Hollstein, Managing Director at Grundig Business Systems added: “Based on VREP’s investment profile and strong experience in the mid-market segment, we quickly realised that this is the right partner for long-term development and profitable growth of GBS.”
Tobias Schätzmüller, Managing Partner at Clearwater International commented: “VREP as a new partner will provide financial support and industrial expertise to GBS’ further growth, especially in digital audio processing solutions and the EMS segment. GBS’ management has increased its shareholding and the existing shareholders will retain a majority stake in the company, demonstrating their long-term commitment and trust in GBS’ innovation leadership and growth outlook. This transaction is a further addition to Clearwater International’s already vast M&A experience and track record in the EMS segment and customer sectors such as automotive, industrial and healthcare.”