6 February 2017

Following successful transformation with Paragon, WLW initiates next growth phase with new investor

“Wer liefert was”, Europe’s leading B2B marketplace, gets a new investor – Swiss holding company Capvis – with a lot of experience and success in promoting the growth of leading medium-sized companies.

The acquisition is above all intended to further expand the product range and press ahead with the internationalization of the B2B marketplace. Together with the existing “Wer liefert was” management, Capvis is acquiring the company from the previous majority owner Paragon. Confidentiality has been stipulated with regard to the purchasing price. The transaction is still pending antitrust approvals and other customary conditions.

Since August 2016, “Wer liefert was” has been working towards becoming Europe’s largest B2B network along with its affiliate EUROPAGES. There are currently 2.5 million suppliers with 5.5 million B2B products in 26 languages on both platforms, which are visited by 3.4 million unique users monthly and generate a turnover of 45 million euros. Peter F. Schmid, CEO of “Wer liefert was”, welcomes the involvement of the new investor: “We thank Paragon for their entrepreneurial support in recent years and are very pleased to be able to push ahead with our growth strategy along with Capvis. This allows us to further develop our position as the leading B2B marketplace in Europe and greatly expand our product range for SMEs.” The contract was signed on January 31 2017, with the transaction scheduled for completion by mid-March.

The Swiss holding company Capvis will provide support for the management during the next growth phase. Justin Kent, the responsible investment director at Capvis Equity Partners, considers the time to be right for the forthcoming cooperation. “Although “Wer liefert was” and EUROPAGES, which we also want to acquire, are already excellent companies, we agree with the management that there is great potential for value enhancement, further growth and the expansion of market leadership in Europe. We plan to make targeted use of acquisitions as we push ahead together.”

The holding companies Paragon and Nordic Mezzanine had taken over “Wer liefert was” back in February 2012. During the successful cooperation, the focus was mainly on developing the B2B product marketplace, while the purchase of EUROPAGES in 2016 created the basis on which to digitize Europe’s B2B market as well as continue internationalizing “Wer liefert was” beyond Germany. “The last five years have been marked by a dynamic development in the B2B sector. By investing in technology and the team, “Wer liefert was” and EUROPAGES succeeded in expanding their market leadership in Europe. We thank the entire team and wish them all the best for the future,” said a visibly pleased Krischan Moeller, managing partner at Paragon.

About wlw
“Wer liefert was” is the leading online B2B marketplace in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Being the most-visited website for professional purchases wlw provides millions of products and services in the B2B section. About 540,000 suppliers, producers, distributors and service providers get in touch with 1.3 million genuine buyers every month on wlw.de, wlw.at and wlw.ch. The precise and easy search provides buyers with reliable information on companies and their product portfolios – including current contact data and pricing – every month. The range of wlw services is free of charge for buyers and as a basic profile for advertisers.“Wer liefert was” has its headquarters in Hamburg and 200 employees. The company was founded in 1932 and was the first publisher of printed reference material for commercial buyers. Since 1995 wlw has been offering its services online.

About Capvis
Capvis is a Swiss-based private equity firm. It invests in German-speaking Europe and in Northern Italy. Capvis focuses on majority holdings in leading mid-sized companies.

About Paragon
Paragon is one of the leading independent private equity firms in Europe with approx. €650 million of equity under management. Paragon works closely with portfolio companies to achieve sustainable growth and operational excellence. The investment portfolio covers various industries and currently comprises 8 companies. Paragon was founded in 2004 and is based in Munich, Germany. For further information please refer to www.paragon.de.