CEWE expands in the prime segment for wall art with the takeover
WhiteWall to remain an independent brand with its own production
Management expects rise in the value of the company as a whole
Oldenburg/Berlin/Frechen, 30 April 2019. CEWE Stiftung & Co. KGaA (SDAX, ISIN: DE 0005403901) has concluded an agreement to purchase WhiteWall Media GmbH, located in Berlin and in Frechen near Cologne.
The core business of WhiteWall lies in sophisticated gallery-quality wall art. WhiteWall enjoys an excellent reputation with professional and amateur photographers thanks to its outstanding product quality. The brand is growing dynamically and besides Germany, it is active in many European countries and the USA. CEWE intends to promote the brand and the business conducted with the brand. As a member of the CEWE Group, WhiteWall will remain an independent brand with its own production. In consequence, nothing is to change for WhiteWall customers. CEWE expects the acquisition of shares to have a sustained positive effect on the market position and value of the company as a whole.
The WhiteWall brand and business operations, the production plant in Frechen and the four WhiteWall stores in Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Berlin, and Munich are to be taken over from seller Avenso GmbH; the takeover does not include the LUMAS unit and its galleries. The WhiteWall shop-in-shop presence in the LUMAS galleries in New York, Vienna, Zurich, Cologne, Frankfurt and Paris is to be maintained. The acquisition also sees the WhiteWall staff, numbering around 170 employees, being taken over at the locations in Berlin and Frechen as well as in the company’s own stores. Alexander Nieswandt, the founder and Managing Director of WhiteWall Media GmbH in Frechen, will be the WhiteWall Managing Director in future too. Completion of the transaction sees the addition of another Managing Director; Thomas Alscheid has already been with the CEWE Group for more than ten years.
WhiteWall is currently growing dynamically, and CEWE is planning to expand the WhiteWall premium brand with further growth in Germany and on international markets. WhiteWall will continue to produce at the operation in Frechen, where the LUMAS works of art will still be produced. Photographers can order their own photos in a gallery quality from WhiteWall, and LUMAS sells curated wall-art prints. Cooperation between LUMAS and WhiteWall will continue at a production level and in the shop-in-shop section. Synergies with CEWE are expected in downstream processes such as purchasing. CEWE employed a similar procedure for earlier acquisitions such as DeinDesign and Cheerz, with very good results. CEWE expects the acquisition and the anticipated synergy effects to have a sustained positive effect on the value of the company as a whole.
CEWE CEO Dr. Christian Friege: “The acquisition of WhiteWall is an excellent addition to our portfolio of brands, matching the premium standard of the CEWE Group. The development of WhiteWall is impressive, with the company providing outstanding quality in the upmarket premium segment. The independence of the brand is to secure its dynamic performance in the future. We are thus also strengthening the overall CEWE Group market position.”
Marc Ullrich, co-founder & CEO of Avenso GmbH: “We are delighted, knowing that WhiteWall couldn’t be in better hands than it is with CEWE. CEWE and WhiteWall both stand for outstanding product quality and good customer service. For us, a guarantee that the WhiteWall brand would remain independent was important. The financial strength and experience of the CEWE Group are ideal when it comes to securing the further development of WhiteWall.”
Alexander Nieswandt: “I am delighted that we have the opportunity to continue to expand WhiteWall as a premium brand with the European market leader CEWE as our partner and owner. And the philosophy of a long-term CEWE commitment is a major advantage for WhiteWall and its employees.”
CEWE will probably take over WhiteWall for a purchase price based on an enterprise value of 30 million euros as at 1 June 2019 on the basis of the interim financial report as at the end of May 2019. The transaction values the enterprise at around 0.9 times the turnover achieved on 2018 by the part of the enterprise to be taken over. For the current financial year, the CEWE Board of Management expects the takeover – including the purchase price allocation and the transaction costs – to initially still have a negative impact on the EBIT in the amount of around one million euros. CEWE expects the acquisition to have a sustained positive effect on the value of the company as a whole. Completion of the transaction still also depends on approval by the relevant Monopoly and Merger commissions.
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The innovative photo and online print service company, with fourteen highly-technical production operations and a staff of around 3,900 employees in 26 European countries, is both market and technological leader. In 2018 CEWE delivered around 2.2 billion prints, 6.2 million CEWE PHOTO BOOK copies and numerous photo gift articles to more than 20,000 retail partners to generate Group turnover of 653.3 million euros. The company is continuously generating new impulses in the photographic industry with innovations for people who enjoy taking photos. CEWE is a leading company when it comes to climate protection. CEWE brand products are all produced in a climate-natural process. In the “commercial online printing” business segment, printed material for businesses is marketed through the sales platforms of CEWE-PRINT.de, SAXOPRINT, viaprinto and LASERLINE. Founded by Senator h. c. Heinz Neumüller in 1961, CEWE has been listed on the stock exchange since 1993 and is an SDAX member.