Creating a new cloud champion: Waterland acquires three German IT specialist providers


Waterland Private Equity is acquiring three IT service providers in the German market: Beck et al., binary, and direkt gruppe. Together, these three companies will form a new platform serving the rapidly growing market for managed enterprise cloud services. As a provider of end-to-end solutions for both private and public clouds, the new group will offer a comprehensive range of services throughout Germany, Austria, Switzerland and beyond, thus supporting its client base of medium-sized businesses and large enterprises as they digitalise their business processes and transition to the cloud. Waterland acquires the stakes from the respective founders of the three companies, all of whom will reinvest significantly into the new group and remain on board in management positions. The parties have agreed not to disclose details of the three transactions.

With this new platform, Waterland addresses the shifting environment within the rapidly growing market segment for managed enterprise cloud solutions, in which the setup and operation of a cloud is completely outsourced to an external partner. Major changes are currently taking place within this segment, particularly among large and medium-sized companies. With the ongoing digitalisation of their business processes, more and more companies across all industries are facing the challenges of increasing complexity and the urgent need to modernise their own IT infrastructures. The success of their digitalisation concepts is thus largely determined by their choice of the IT partner. The solution often entails a combination of different infrastructures through multi-cloud service models – complex combinations of private, public or hybrid cloud structures – which may also integrate on-premise solutions. These constellations pose particularly significant challenges for companies without large internal IT departments. Therefore, Waterland aims to establish a new digital service provider able to provide the integration and ongoing operation of these solutions and to meet these business needs comprehensively, from end-to-end.

Beck et al. was founded more than 30 years ago and is a solution provider for complex cutting-edge public cloud infrastructures and services. The company has particular expertise in digital collaboration strategies and in the implementation of modern working methods to support the digitalisation of companies. In addition to its head office in Munich, the company maintains offices in Florianópolis, Brazil, in Urdorf, Switzerland (near Zurich), and in Cluj, Romania.

binary, based in Essen, Germany, is a leading private cloud specialist for medium-sized businesses. The company operates its own state-of-the-art certified data centre in Germany as well as partner locations to ensure geo-redundancy. binary is thus able to provide complete operating models for the private cloud sector with a particular focus on highly scalable, tailor-made solutions. binary operates its own 24/7 service desks, offering support and technical assistance all the way to the end user.

direkt gruppe, founded in 1998, sees itself as a cloud transformation and cloud infrastructure operation partner for its clients, offering these services across a variety of technology platforms. These service offerings are based upon the company’s strategic partnerships with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft (Azure). In addition to its headquarters in Hamburg, the company has offices throughout Germany including Cologne, Munich and Paderborn. A particular strength of the group is its own cloud management platform called IQ3 Cloud, which is used by well-known reference clients worldwide to coordinate their AWS and Microsoft workloads. In addition, direkt gruppe has proven expertise in the planning, construction and operation of complex public cloud infrastructures, in rapid software development for cloud-based application environments, and in SAP consulting. The group's customers include well-known companies within the financial services, manufacturing and retail sectors as well as other IT providers.

“Many companies in the DACH region – Germany, Austria and Switzerland – are currently in the process of digitalising their business,” explains Dr. Gregor Hengst, Principal at Waterland Private Equity. “But hardly any IT provider in the German-speaking market is able to flexibly and comprehensively meet the associated, highly complex requirements of a functioning cloud infrastructure. With our new platform, we are creating a leading independent German digital service provider able to offer complete end-to-end solutions to meet these needs. Our goal is to support companies of all sizes on their way into the cloud and the digital future. To do so, we will also consider add-on transactions to further expand the new group’s range of service offerings.”

Waterland was advised on this transaction by Boston Consulting Group (commercial), Hengeler Mueller (legal), EY (financial) and Clearwater (debt).

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