Wednesday, July 18th 2018

German Retailer Caseking Sold to Gilde Buy Out Partners

Funds advised by Equistone Partners Europe, one of Europe's leading mid-market private equity investors, have agreed to sell a majority stake in Caseking, one of the leading European suppliers of PC gaming, eSports and tech products, to funds advised by Gilde Buy Out Partners. Equistone acquired Caseking in March 2014 and has subsequently supported the company's growth strategy. Caseking's founders and management will retain a stake in the business. The financial terms of the deal are undisclosed and completion of the sale is subject to the approval of the relevant competition authorities.
Headquartered in Berlin, Caseking was founded in 2003 by Kay Kostadinov and Toni Sonn as an online store for gaming and PC accessories. Since then, the company has developed into one of the most successful suppliers of high-performance computer systems and PC components and accessories for the gaming sector throughout Europe. The company employs c.400 people and has operations in Germany, Great Britain, Scandinavia, Southern and Eastern Europe and Taiwan. Through a logistics network of six depots, Caseking processes over 540,000 orders a year and ships c. 4 million products around the world annually. Its product portfolio encompasses exclusive own-brand goods as well as licensed and third-party brands.

Under Equistone's ownership, Caseking's turnover has increased from €96m in FY 2013/14 to €239m in FY 2017/2018. This growth was primarily driven by strategic acquisitions, but is also clearly visible in the double-digit organic revenue growth of the company. Prior to Equistone's acquisition of the company, Caseking had acquired the British company Overclockers, one of the leading providers of hardware components. The acquisitions of the Hungarian company, Kelly-tech, in July 2014 and Portugal-based Globaldata in February 2017 strengthened Caseking's presence in other key European geographies. Caseking completed two further bolt-on acquisitions under Equistone's ownership: Trigono, a supplier of gaming products, software licences and maintenance services active in Sweden and Norway, in November 2017 and Jimm's PC Store, a Finnish supplier of computer and gaming accessories, at the start of 2018.

Toni Sonn, CEO of Caseking, said: "Through our targeted and strategic acquisitions, we have been able to significantly expand Caseking's international presence and drive its expansion forward effectively and successfully into new markets and countries. We have also realised exceptionally strong organic growth across all the product categories we offer. We would like to thank Equistone for having been a supportive partner throughout its investment period. We're delighted to be marking the beginning of the next successful period of growth together with the company's new owners."

Alexis Milkovic, Partner at Equistone, commented: "Equistone's objective was to support Caseking both in its organic growth and with targeted acquisitions. This involved simultaneously strengthening Caseking's position as one of the market leaders in key European markets, taking the Company into new markets and safeguarding Caseking's high credibility in the gaming community. In a booming market with a discerning and brand-sensitive client base that is very demanding."

Leander Heyken, Partner at Equistone, added: "We're delighted to have had such a successful partnership with Caseking and its employees. We wish Caseking all the best in their future development and trust that the company is in good hands with its new owners."
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14 Comments on German Retailer Caseking Sold to Gilde Buy Out Partners

#1
Ubersonic
Interesting, IIRC Caseking own Overclockers.co.uk
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#2
Kaotik
You forgot to mention Northern Europe or Finland as one of the areas where they work. Finland is not part of Scandinavia
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#3
brian111
"We wish Caseking all the best in their future development and trust that the company is in good hands with its new owners."

Translation: We got our money, good luck and hope it works out for you.
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#4
RejZoR
I buy stuff from them here and there. They have amazing service. The fastest wire transfer processing I've ever seen and also amazingly fast shipping and delivery. And they always throw in a tiny bag of Haribo gummy bears with the order, which I find funny and cute at the same time. :)
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#6
Joss
Under Equistone's ownership, Caseking's turnover has increased from €96m in FY 2013/14 to €239m in FY 2017/2018. This growth was primarily driven by strategic acquisitions
Translation: debt.
This is what these private equity investors do: ridden a company with debt, sell it with a profit (because it's so much bigger now isn't it) and move on. Then the said company can't pay the debts no longer, sacks hundreds, closes and sells affiliates, and calls it "restructuring".
Eventually we'll be left with Amazon. I already have a lot of trouble buying books at an online retailer not owned by them.
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#7
Vayra86
Joss, post: 3872473, member: 152251"
Translation: debt.
This is what these private equity investors do: ridden a company with debt, sell it with a profit (because it's so much bigger now isn't it) and move on. Then the said company can't pay the debts no longer, sacks hundreds, closes and sells affiliates, and calls it "restructuring".
Eventually we'll be left with Amazon. I already have a lot of trouble buying books at an online retailer not owned by them.
And then those giants get hit with antitrust fines to curb them. Im expecting to see a lot of those in the near future. It might even serve as a new way to get our tax money back.
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#8
Mescalamba
Hm, kinda hope it plays out good for customers, they would be seriously loss..
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#9
erixx
Caseking, a vampire, long live its death.
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#10
Valantar
Vayra86, post: 3872499, member: 152404"
And then those giants get hit with antitrust fines to curb them. Im expecting to see a lot of those in the near future. It might even serve as a new way to get our tax money back.
The only problem here is that the antitrust fines generally come a decade or more too late, and don't actually serve to re-balance the market in any real way. While I'm completely in agreement that fines are necessary, I think it's time the US and other major markets started actually enforcing their anti-monopoly laws that allow them to break up companies.

Also, when the company buying them out has "Buy Out" in their name, that's a very major red flag. Might as well name their company "strip mining profitable business by running them into the ground, not giving a damn about employees or customers."
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#11
Joss
When you need antitrust/anti-monopoly laws something is fundamentally wrong; specially when those laws are written by monopoly organizations themselves like the EU.
The problem here is easy money, read Fiat money, the cancer at the root of all evils.
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#12
Valantar
Joss, post: 3872804, member: 152251"
When you need antitrust/anti-monopoly laws something is fundamentally wrong; specially when those laws are written by monopoly organizations themselves like the EU.
The problem here is easy money, read Fiat money, the cancer at the root of all evils.
Oh dear. You're one of those "the market would self-regulate if we only left it alone" people? So there's no incentive towards monopolization inherent in for-profit business? If you really believe that, I'd like you to explain it, please.

Economic theory and history both clearly demonstrate that for-profit business tends towards monopolization in non-regulated or weakly regulated markets. That is a simple, indisputable fact. Businesses run for profit want to minimize costs and maximize revenue, which at some point always means buying out competitors or running them out of business as long as this is possible, as not competing is both cheaper and more profitable than competing.

Also: the EU is a monopoly organization? In what sense? That it has a "monopoly" on supranational legislation in its member countries? A hint here: for something to be a monopoly, it has to be trading something. The EU is a governmental organization, not a business, and while it does govern trade (and could thus in theory give out monopolies through law) it does not take part in trade. "Monopoly" means something akin to "a right of exclusive sale" after all. You're either deliberately trying to dilute what the term monopoly means, or simply too caught up in ideological capitalism to understand that governments are not businesses.

Also, fiat money is the problem? How? Are you suggesting we revert to a barter system? Or should we all be paying for everything with gold nuggets, diamonds, or some other arbitrary denominator of value? Remember, the "intrinsic value" of gold is entirely decided by society, and is thus not intrinsic whatsoever. Sure, gold has a use beyond payment, but so do ... carrots, or clothes, or soil. That's no argument to make it the basis of the economy, as it's still just one of millions of tradeable and useful goods. Not to mention that conflating the term "easy money" with "fiat money" (one of which is a colloquialism for quick and low-effort earnings, the other a fundamental economic construct entirely separate from profits, whether they be easy or hard-won (or losses, for that matter)) shows that you're essentially just regurgitating nonsense.
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#13
Joss
Valantar, post: 3872814, member: 171585"
Remember, the "intrinsic value" of gold is entirely decided by society, and is thus not intrinsic whatsoever
Oh dear... how wrong can one be.
Unfortunately this is not the place for this type of argument; otherwise it would surely be stimulating.
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#14
Valantar
Joss, post: 3872838, member: 152251"
Oh dear... how wrong can one be.
Unfortunately this is not the place for this type of argument; otherwise it would surely be stimulating.
You know, these forums have a DM function, you're very welcome to explain how wrong I am there. I'll be waiting.
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