DDA & Company advises Wellcom shareholders, a leading influence communication agency, in a recapitalization deal, supported by Crédit Mutuel Equity.

Following an auction process led by DDA & Company, Thierry Wellhoff, founder of Wellcom, hands over to Philippe Lucas, new Chairman and now majority shareholder, accompanied by his historical partners. This MBO (“Management Buy-Out”) operation is supported by Crédit Mutuel Equity, and involves the founder.

With 120 employees and a turnover of €15m, Wellcom is the leading independent corporate communication and public relations agency in France. The company offers high level consulting services – strategic consulting, digital strategy, strategic planning, data – covering the entire field of influence communication. This wide range of expertise has convinced companies and institutions of all sizes to entrust Wellcom with the management of their image, reputation and influence issues and challenges, both in France and internationally: Total, Engie, Adidas, Google, Nivea, Logitec, Randstad, etc.

“I would like to thank Thierry Wellhoff for giving us the opportunity to continue the Wellcom adventure and Crédit Mutuel Equity for supporting us in this process. The agency is a fine model of integration of the various communication businesses, but also of employees from all backgrounds. For us, there is no longer any boundary between brand and influence, there is no longer any barrier between internal and external, there is no longer any difference between consumer and citizen. Our approach consists of a global understanding of the issues and a global capacity to deal with them,” explains Philippe Lucas.

“In nearly 20 years, with Philippe Lucas, we have transformed Wellcom to adapt it to the new demands of communication and, in particular, to its new positioning, by investing in the Observatoire du sens, which is already a recognized reference. I have great faith in Philippe Lucas to continue what we have built together, and to consolidate our role as market leader,” Thierry Wellhoff adds.

Senior debt is provided by BNP Paribas and CIC.

The DDA & Company team, composed of Alain Sitbon and Clément Darcourt, advised Wellcom in this transaction.

About Wellcom

Founded in 1981, Wellcom is today one of the leading independent communication agencies on the French market.

Corporate and global communication, public relations, media relations, digital communication, e-reputation… Wellcom offers integrated expertise in five areas (Inspire, Influence, Convince, Link and Activate), to successfully support the challenges of companies and institutions. Founded by Thierry Wellhoff and chaired by Philippe Lucas, Wellcom has continued its strong growth over the last five years. It now has nearly 120 employees and a turnover of over 15 million euros. Wellcom represents in France PROI, the world’s largest network of independent communication agencies.

About Crédit Mutuel Equity

Crédit Mutuel Equity brings together all the Private Equity activities of Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale: Expansion Capital, Transmission Capital and Innovation Capital.

Crédit Mutuel Equity provides capital support to managers at all stages of their company’s development – from seed capital to buyout – giving them the resources and time they need to implement their transformation projects. Crédit Mutuel Equity brings together more than 350 managers who share their convictions and questions within a genuine network of entrepreneurs who, whatever the nature of their project, can be sure of benefiting from the experience of others. By investing its own capital (‘3.0 billion), Crédit Mutuel Equity finances companies’ projects over time horizons adapted to their development strategy, in France as well as in Canada, the United States, Germany and Switzerland.

Parties & Advisors to the Transaction :

  • Sellers

Wellcom: Managers (Thierry Wellhoff, Philippe Lucas, Sylvie Aduriz, Stéphanie Bastide, François Belz, Jean-Baptiste de Bellescize, Caroline Langlais)

M&A Advisory: DDA & Company (Alain Sitbon, Clément Darcourt)

Legal Counsel: DMMS (Philippe Missika, Léa Cohen), Valther (Bruno Fiacre), Desfilis (Isabelle Buffard-Bastide)

  • Buyers

Wellcom: Managers (Thierry Wellhoff, Philippe Lucas, Sylvie Aduriz, Stéphanie Bastide, François Belz, Jean-Baptiste de Bellescize, Caroline Langlais)

Financial investor: CM-CIC Equity (Franck Thouroude, Jean-Marie Giannettini)

Financial audit: Mayfield (Ali Fatih, Franck Narquin)

Legal advisor: Fieldfisher (Pascal Squercioni, Natalia Toribio)

Funding
Senior Debt: BNP (Sebastien Cao, Delphine Jeandat-Costet), CIC (Sophie Guiraudou, Jérémy Sonthonnax), BNP SME Fund (Cyril Loiry)