Clairfield partner Andre Wassmann travelled to Korea last month to speak on the importance of the German middle market in M&A at the Global Investment Strategy Forum sponsored by KITIA, the Korea Core Industrial Technology Investment Association. This large annual event sponsored by Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy promotes crossborder acquisitions by Korean industrial companies.
This occasion marked the second time Clairfield International was invited to participate in the KITIA conference. In addition to speeches from international experts, including Andre representing Europe, the conference consisted of interactive meetings with South Korean company leaders. The audience of international businesspeople, mainly from Asia, showed great interest in German manufacturing businesses, particularly in the midmarket segment, an area of focus for Clairfield International. South Korean investors are keen to gain market access and wanted to better understand German market entry possibilities and context on the European continent.
Among the questions Andre addressed in his speech was how German midmarket companies react to Asian investors as they seek new distribution markets, enhancement of intellectual property value, and funding. Andre also highlighted the increase in global M&A in Europe and Asia with European M&A at its second-highest level ever after recovering from political and structural uncertainty in 2016. Investments in tech combined with strong German sectors will drive future European growth.
“Structural pitfalls and cultural differences need to be addressed early on when approaching the German midmarket. Managers have stricter criteria if taking on Asian investors and governments observe transactions more closely to prevent the loss of technological expertise to other countries,” says Andre Wassmann, who is a partner at Clairfield International in Germany specializing in technology. “The complexity of crossborder deals requires advice from a culturally embedded M&A advisor. I was happy to make the case on behalf of the German Mittelstand at the KITIA conference and look forward to developing further work in Asia.”