Dr. Christian Figge, Vice President, General Atlantic, Jennifer Kelly, Chief Executive Officer, Founder, Minxli, Dr. Sven Oleownik, Partner, Head of Germany, Gimv Germany, Christoph Weigler, General Manager Germany, Uber Germany and Dr. Thomas von Werner, Managing Director, EMH Partners, discussed the impact of digitalisation on the way they do business. Dr. Michael Cziesla, Partner Private Equity / M&A, McDermott Will & Emery, moderated the panel.

  • The panel mainly covered the following three areas:
  • How Big Data and Artificial Intelligence Changes the Way We Do Business
  • Regulatory Challenges for Digital Platforms
  • M&A in a Digital World Threats and Opportunities

The industry as a whole is changing massively as a result of digitalisation. The panel started by discussing the impact of digitalisation on the respective businesses of the panel members. As new and successful business models emerge, big data and artificial intelligence systems are becoming more sophisticated and markets are moving fast to keep track. This requires even smaller Mittelstand companies to constantly evaluate the way they do business. A capable CTO and digitalisation strategy are important elements for the success of any business in the digital world. A clear operating plan is also key to understanding the value and risks associated with any digitalisation strategy. 

The panel agreed that some industries will be affected more by big data and artificial intelligence than others. The health care and services industries were two areas where some panellists saw particular development potential. Digitalisation should be seen as opportunity for change. One of the challenges of the rapid change stemming from increased digitalisation is keeping track of the ever increasing regulation. Because digital businesses are global, a multitude of statutes and regulations need to be followed which is often challenging. Some panellists described the importance of actively driving the business in a regulated environment and not shrinking away from being a first mover, even if the legal framework is still uncertain. In any event, constant legal support is key to properly understand and assessing legal risks. The panel identified that M&A can be an important element to implement a digitalisation strategy. Digitally driven deals are not necessarily large or transformational. Nonetheless, they require a lot of preparation and a different approach to valuation. A business call has to be made between either internal investment to build capabilities or buying external expertise through M&A. The panel agreed that in a few years, it is certain that almost no company in any industry will be able to ignore a digital business model or digital capability to remain competitive. Therefore, driving the business in a digital world is not only following a global trend but it really is core to being competitive in the future. The panel concluded that the process of digitalisation offers attractive opportunities for strategic, as well as private investors, but requires a more flexible approach.

From left to right: Dr. Christian Figge, General Atlantic; Jennifer Kelly, Minxli; Dr. Sven Oleownik, Gimv Germany; Christoph Weigler, Uber Germany; Dr. Thomas von Werner, EMH Partners; Dr. Michael Cziesla, McDermott Will & Emery
The panel brought together representatives of family offices and family-backed investment vehicles from the United States and Europe; the discussion focused primarily on the challenges of cross-border direct investing. Each of the panellists noted the dramatic increase over the past few years of direct investing transactions, as well as the increased participation of family offices and family-backed investment vehicles in auctions and other competitive processes. The consensus was that this trend will continue and, in all likelihood, accelerate in the coming years. The panel was asked the following question: When you look at a cross-border investment opportunity, what strategies do you employ that might be different than in a domestic deal, for instance, around due diligence, local partner...

Dr. Henrik Fastrich, Managing and Founding Partner of Orlando Management AG, Frank Gunther, Founder and Managing Director of One Square Advisors, Dr. Max Mayer-Eming, Managing Director of Macquarie Capital (Europe) Limited, and Martin Schwarzer, Partner and Co-head of the German Mergers & Acquisition group of PwC AG discussed the current restructuring and distressed M&A situation in the German market together with moderator Dr. Matthias Kampshoff of McDermott Will & Emery.

This panel featured the insights of Melville Mummert (Raymond James), Dr. Carsten Böhm (McDermott Will & Emery), Daniel Cole (Marlin Equity Partners Limited), Robert Goldstein (McDermott Will & Emery), Andreas Bösenberg (Sun European Partners) and Chris McIntire (KPM Analytics).The panel highlighted disruptive factors, such as the US administration, but ended with a fairly optimistic outlook for 2018....
Dr. Sven Oleownik, Partner and Head of Germany at Gimv Germany, discussed Gimv’s investment in Punch Powertrain, a Chinese-markets-oriented independent supplier of innovative, clean, powertrain technology. Dr. Oleownik showcased Gimv’s investment and exit process, as well as the strategic development all standing under the firm’s enquiry to get into the right market in China. Gimv, a European pioneer in Private Equity and Venture Capital, has a proven future-oriented strategy with a diversified portfolio of about 50 companies. Its key platforms of focus being smart industries, connected consumers, health care and sustainable cities. Building upon this strategy Gimv invested in the €35m EV (€15m equity and €20m debt) and negative E...

Olya Klüppel (Global Growth Capital), Jurij Puth (GSO), Jürgen Breuer (Pemperton Asset Management), Stuart Hewer (SEB), Dr Nicolaus Loos (IKB Deutsche Industriebank AG) and Didier Beltai-Menth (Bayerische Landesbank), discussed the current German debt finance environment and the competition between banks and (alternative investment/debt) funds as provider of financial accommodation. McDermott’s, Dr. Oliver K. Hahnelt moderated the panel discussion.

Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, chair of the Munich Security Conference, led the MuMAC audience through the recent changes that have shaken the international. Ambassador Ischinger believes that the current international climate is the most dangerous it has been since the end of the Cold War. Central to this change are the “Five Losses” to the international order: the losses of prediction, truth, Western self-confidence and trust in institutions, regional and global decision- making capability, and the state monopoly of power. From the complete surprise with which the international community was caught by events, such as the Crimean Crisis to the growing emergence of nationalistic tendencies around the world, and increasingly aggressive rogue states, Ambassador Ischinger highlighted how norm...
Dr. Stephan Rau and Kristian Werling, both from McDermott Will & Emery, moderated a thrilling panel on Health Care and Life Sciences M&A on both sides of the Atlantic. Hervé Ronin (Bryan Garnier & Co), Dr. Charles Niehaus (Alliance Medical), Benjamin Seifert (AUCTUS Capital Partners AG) and Dr. Oliver Schulte-Ladbeck (PwC) contemplated listing at the European state exchange, the competition of strategies and financials and the run for chief data officers (CDOs), chief marketing officers (CMOs) and other pharma services providers....
Olivier Garnier, founder and managing partner of Bryan, Garnier & Co., and Khaled Bahi, Chief Financial Officer of Symetis, presented the acquisition of Symetis, the third largest player in the European market for transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI), by Boston Scientific. Since its introduction in 2002 as a new ground-breaking procedure, TAVI has grown to become a $2.3 billion market with the expectation that it will increase to approximately $4 billion by 2020. Given the only alternative to treating Severe Aortic Stenosis (which affects 2 percent of the world population over the age of 65) is long and highly invasive open-heart surgery with general anaesthesia, it is not difficult to see why a procedure that requires only local anaesthesia and can be completed in 45 minutes...
Dr. Florian von Alten, Managing Partner of Oaklins Germany, Dr. Michael Drill, CEO and Managing Director of Lincoln International AG, Carsten Hagenbucher, Managing Director for corporate investment in Europe of Investcorp, Philipp von Mitzlaff, Business Development Director of Paragon Partners GmbH and Brendan P. O’Connor, Assistant General Counsel for Mergers & Acquisitions and Assistant Secretary of Honeywell International Inc., together with panel head Dr. Nikolaus von Jacobs of McDermott Will & Emery discussed the M&A and Private Equity market in 2017. The panel dove into the current market, highlighting the positive atmosphere as an increasing number of investors chase the limited number of deals available. This competition among investors has continued to drive up prices,...
1. The magic question: Is there an ideal investment funds structure for certain asset classes or investor types? With a view to market fund units to institutional investors, overseas funds usually have flexibility to adapt to individual investor requests, e.g., by setting up feeder fund structures. That flexibility allows tailoring to individual European fund investors requests. Further, overseas fund structures often do not have leverage restrictions and depositary bank requirements do not apply. As an important restriction, it is to be taken into account: Raising money in the EU is since 2013 a fully regulated activity subject to approval by the domestic investment fund supervisory authority. The resulting requirement is that raising money without having European AIFM-licence needs to be...

This panel featured Paul DellaNeve, Vice President, Moog Inc., Ulrich Nicolaus Kranz, Member of the Board and Chief Strategy Officer, Kiekert AG, Norman Rafael, Vice President, Corporate Development and Corporate Communications, Armacell International, S.A. Moderating the panel was McDermott Corporate Partner, Tom Conaghan, from the Firms Washington, DC office.

Olya Klüppel (ESO Capital Group), Mathias Wahrenberger (Burda Digital), Gunther Thies (STP Informationstechnol­ogie) and Christopher Brackmann (Bridgepoint), together with moderator David Evans (Alvarez & Marsal), discussed current trends affecting transactions in the technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) sector. The panel began with a discussion of the practical challenges and opportunities for software businesses moving from tradi­tional licence models to software as a service. The increased proportion of recurring revenues makes businesses that have successfully started this transition attractive to private equity investors and other finance providers, which in turn drives increasing valuation multiples in this space. The panellists agreed that a private equity investor cou...
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