Hi Marian! Congratulations again on your deal with HANNOVER Finanz and ARCUS Capital in April 2021. How have the first months of your cooperation been?
Thank you! I am extremely satisfied with the developments over the last 6 months. The cooperation with the team of HANNOVER Finanz and ARCUS is always based on a partnership of equals and respectful. For me as well as for the management, the cooperation is very enriching.
The Löwenstark Digital Group has developed rapidly in recent years. What are the key success factors behind the group’s strong growth?
First and foremost, this is due to our really great team. I learned early on that I had to build a strong team and transfer responsibilities to grow successfully in the long term. My greatest entrepreneurial achievement was probably finding the right people for the lion pack and getting them excited about our shared vision.
The Löwenstark Digital Group consists of 7 specialized digital service providers, which are managed by the respective directors with clear objectives. Within the group, our full-service approach enables us to offer customers all the services they need from a single source and to respond flexibly to their requirements. Our focus on medium-sized customers also allows us to concentrate strongly on their needs which is reflected in long-term and very trustful collaborations. All of this is supported by our strongly process- and data-driven approach. Our in-house developed ERP system “ROAR”, which incorporates years of process know-how and is also based on artificial intelligence, digitally maps all processes and creates the greatest possible automation potential. In turn, this creates more freedom for the comprehensive support of our customers.
Löwenstark is characterized by this data- and technology-driven approach. What distinguishes Löwenstark in particular from other agency networks on the market?
As mentioned, we have implemented strong process lines with extensive software support. This enables us to serve customers with smaller budgets in a highly professional manner. Our technological setup with the strongly data-driven approach is certainly unique in the market. This is particularly reflected to us by new employees who are very impressed by the technological support. In addition, our extremely direct customer contact certainly represents another factor. As a full-service provider, we are often our customer’s sole service provider in digital marketing. This, in turn, offers us enormous up- and cross-selling potential between the Group’s individual specialized units. This is where the performance component plays the decisive role.
Despite the positive development, the idea of selling the majority stake in Löwenstark Digital Group came up. What were your motives?
All Companies go through various phases of development as they grow. Back in 2017, I recognized that the Group had to be positioned on a broader base and further competencies had to be built up. The hiring of Hartmut Deiwick as an additional managing director, who has used his personal background to drive the process and performance focus as well as customer centricity forward, has certainly taken us to a new level. However, the next phase of the company’s development also calls for scaling expertise, which HANNOVER Finanz and ARCUS Capital bring to the partnership as they have very extensive experience in this area. We can benefit enormously from their expertise, especially when it comes to acquisitions and further business ventures. In addition, the transaction also allowed the management to participate in the company which was particularly important to me. The current setup puts us in a perfect position for the next growth phase.
Why did you choose ox8 Corporate Finance as your M&A advisor? How do you assess the collaboration?
I’ve heard that ox8 Corporate Finance hosts the best closing dinners 😉 No, I only found out about that after the transaction.
The ox8 Corporate Finance team convinced me immediately during their pitch due to their high client orientation, the extensive experience especially in the digital marketing sector and the interpersonal chemistry, which was just a perfect fit. During the process, I also noticed their strong analytical and negotiation skills, which I was very impressed with. Throughout the entire process I always felt ideally advised. The ox8 Corporate Finance team was always available and gave us excellent support in all phases of the project, even in cases I would not have expected before.
M&A processes are usually very intense phases in the lives of founders. How did you feel during this phase?
Absolutely! The process phase was really a very intensive, but at the same time totally exciting time. It was only throughout the process that I became aware of the relevance of having a good M&A advisor on my side who guides and manages the transaction process. The due diligence in particular was of course a challenging time. Due to the high interest of the market and the short timeline in the competitive process, the workload was intense. However, thanks to the extensive support from ox8 Corporate Finance and my team, this phase was manageable as well. All in all, the process was a great and valuable experience which probably doesn’t happen often in life, even as a founder.
Why did you choose HANNOVER Finanz and ARCUS Capital? How do you judge this decision retrospectively?
HANNOVER Finanz and ARCUS absolutely impressed me on a personal level. With their expertise in scaling companies, they can provide ideal strategic support for our growth path and act as competent sparring partners for the management. The excellent personal chemistry during further discussions within the process served as a perfect basis for today’s very trusting cooperation. Even after some time, I am absolutely convinced that they are very well-suited partners for the Löwenstark Group. I therefore remain very happy about the transaction.
How has your personal situation changed since the deal? What are your future plans?
The majority sale enabled me to take my next personal step. I have withdrawn from the operational business and now work fully on the strategic direction of the company as an advisory board member. This also gives me some personal freedom, which I am using, for example, to set up “THE HELPING PEOPLE FOUNDATION”. This has always been a major desire of mine, which I have now finally been able to realize. So far, we have already been able to build three schools in Bangladesh. But hopefully this was only the beginning.