Uniconsult: An example of turning a setback into a successfully closed deal
After more than 10 years in M&A advisory Dr Josef Rumpl, founding partner of Uniconsult, has built up a strong network in the German and Austrian markets he serves. But when a deal fell through at the last minute, he realised the power of a digital platform.
Founded in 1994, Uniconsult is a tax advisory and management consulting business predominantly serving small and medium-sized enterprises. The company has eight locations in upper Austria, spanning from the German border to Linz, the capital of upper Austria. Its corporate finance division focuses on the Austrian and Bavarian markets, executing between eight and ten M&A transactions a year.
When, at the beginning of last year, founding partner Dr Josef Rumpl needed a buyer for one of his client's companies, operating in the Austrian machinery industry, he did not foresee any problems with finding a suitable buyer.
The client's company, offering all types of industry related machinery and equipment, was a family run business with two brothers at the helm. The goal for Dr Rumpl was to find a new partner who could take over one of the brother’s shares as part of a regulated succession.
The outlook was promising as Dr Rumpl was already aware of three outstanding dealermakers outside of Germany. He had a good contact at one of these companies.
The brothers’ company gained a turnover of several million Euros. The buyer that Dr Rumpl had in mind, gained an annual turnover of multiple million Euros as well. They had the same ambitions and similar cultures. “We were sure we had found the perfect partner”, he says.
The process began very smoothly, he continued. The buy-side party visited twice and signed a letter of engagement soon afterwards. But only one week later there was a complete turnaround.
“We received a rejection,” he says. “The buyer was concerned about the uncertain economic environment in Germany. Six months had now passed, and I had to start from the beginning of the process.”
Austria is a small country, and the big transactions are typically the domain of the banking sector. He needed a quick solution and one that could give him access to a much larger pool of potential buyers. Fortunately, M&A digitalisation has brought much greater visibility, accessibility and efficiency to the scouting and screening process. Using the Dealsuite platform, Dr Rumpl was able to open up opportunities with counterparts that would otherwise have escaped the radar.
“It was very easy,” he says. “I uploaded the proposition on Dealsuite and, within a few days, I had a lot of interest from M&A advisory companies in Europe.”
He got in touch with a German advisory firm. The company screens between four and five hundred SME transactions a year in its core markets of Germany, Austria and Switzerland, introducing cases to pre-screened investors. One of these investors is a Private Equity firm investing in sectors complementary to the client’s niche sector. Additionally they were looking to add to their investments. It was the perfect fit.
“Within about three months the contracts were signed,” says Dr Rumpl. “I’m sure without Dealsuite it wouldn’t have been possible in this timeframe.”
Using Dealsuite allows Dr Rumpl to access multiple potential partners simultaneously and to qualify them with a high degree of accuracy. “M&A deal sourcing can be time and network intensive and – particularly for a challenging market like Austria – having this breadth of information is invaluable”, he adds.
“I use the platform every day and - while it has been hard to gain traction - our business in Austria is really beginning to grow using Dealsuite.”