Case Study: Mapping the Road to Mittelstand Success

Situation Analysis: Our client was a distinguished, small European mid-market investment bank that was interested in growing its M&A footprint in Germany. Their goal was to hire a director.

Options Group Approach: Jan Veder, co-head of our Frankfurt office, was working with the client, having placed another director with them in the recent past. Realizing that there was an important difference between adding to a team and transforming it, he produced a series of studies for the client. The first one focused on the German industrials M&A market, exploring the lag between growth in mid-cap and large-cap M&A deal flow in Germany, identifying the most active sectors and regions, reviewing ¬†major players in German industrials M&A, and outlining a strategic plan to grow the client into a significant player in German mid-cap M&A. Jan’s second study examined the talent market both in terms of competitors‘ internal structures, outperforming individuals and hiring activity; potential partners for joint ventures; and compensation trends. He also analyzed our client’s strongest selling points when going to market for talent. In his third study, Jan assessed both the differing strategy and compensation levels at banks specializing in mid-cap advisory and M&A in Germany compared to their large-cap competitors; analyzed the strengths and availability of specific bankers in four different verticals in M&A and in corporate lending departments; and offered a short of list of boutiques with which either a plan for cooperation or a team lift-out might be possible.

Results: Jan’s thoughtful approach laid out our client’s full range of options for acquiring the kind of talent that could grow their German M&A business. He was also forthright about what that talent would cost. The client met with several director-level candidates and a managing director who was head of industrials M&A at his current firm. For the client, the choice was obvious: the most senior candidate had requisite client contacts, the maturity to build out and lead the team, as well as the experience to collaborate on cross-border deals. The managing director’s skills and relationships more than justified doubling the client’s hiring budget. The successful candidate brought a balanced disposition and a thoughtful approach to building the Mittelstand business. Under his leadership, the firm has expanded, hiring Vice Presidents and additional staff in Germany.

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