Saxenhammer & Co. Corporate Finance: WELTBILD acquires Gärtner Pötschke GmbH

DROEGE-Group, owner of German WELTBILD, will take over the e-commerce mail order company Gärtner Pötschke, as DROEGE announced on Thursday. So far, DROEGE subsidiary WELTBILD has offered garden furniture and tools in addition to books and decorative items, but not plants. Thus, WELTBILD wants to benefit from the growing enthusiasm of consumers for nature and also sell plants and seeds in the future. The company intends to strengthen the e-commerce sector as part of its buy-and-build strategy.

„The passion for nature and garden, combined with a growing ecological awareness, reflects the attitude of many people to life – in the countryside as well as in big cities and across all generations,“ Düsseldorf DROEGE Group explained. The strategic acquisition is intended to strengthen DROEGE Group’s position in this area and expand its online business.

WELTBILD, with its retail book brands such as WELTBILD, Jokers and bü, recently achieved sales of 450 million euros. WELTBILD Group is owned by the DROEGE-Group family business. According to the plans of its new owner, Gärtner Pötschke is to be retained as an independent brand with its own catalogue and brand identity and will also be represented on the WELTBILD website. The takeover still has to be approved by the antitrust authorities.

The garden e-commerce company Gärtner Pötschke, founded in 1912, achieved a turnover of 40 million euros via its internet platform last year, generated with the sale of plants, seeds, flower bulbs and matching accessories. In February, the company had to apply for insolvency proceedings in self administration, as it was not possible to secure pre-financing for the seasonal high-turnover spring business in time.<br<
The District Court of Düsseldorf appointed Dr. Frank Kebekus as insolvency monitor for Gärtner Pötschke. With the support of Dr. Kebekus and CRO Dr. Thomas Kluth, Gärtner Pötschke managed to continue its business operations without restrictions even after the initiation of the insolvency proceedings. At the same time, potential investors in Europe were approached by Saxenhammer & Co. Corporate Finance GmbH (Berlin) acting as exclusive investment banker Gärtner Pötschke. Against other bidders, the purchase approach of WELTBILD prevailed.

Other professionals who worked on the transaction include:

  • Dr. Frank Kebekus of Kebekus & Zimmermann as Insolvency Monitor was supported by Frank Schwarzer
  • Markus Küthe, Rebecca Piechowiak and Max K. Hasenclever, all Partner of Kluth Rechtsanwälte, Düsseldorf, as counsel to Gärtner Pötschke
  • Dietmar J. Langer, Dr. Björn Schlosser and Marcus Hanf as Inhouse Team for DROEGE Group

Saxenhammer & Co. Corporate Finance GmbH is a leading boutique investment bank with over 15 years of experience focused on special situations in Germany and across continental Europe. Saxenhammer & Co. ranks amongst the top firms in this segment. Special situations are the transactions, which are characterized by complexity, speed and creativity. The objects in the transactions include companies, who look for growth opportunities, secession or external financing in crisis, under (preliminary) insolvency, or in neglected industries. The firm’s track record comprises the execution of over 200 successful transactions across all major industries with a success rate of over 90%. With an international reach through partner firms, Saxenhammer & Co. is engaged in cross-border transactions.

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