Fintech & e-commerce Retail and Direct To Consumer

Taking Companies International: Berlin Brands Group Brings In $240M Debt Round

Germany-based e-commerce company Berlin Brands Group, which creates and acquires online retail brands, announced $240 million debt financing Tuesday, its first outside capital, to accelerate global acquisitions.

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Investors backing the round include existing banking partners HVB Unicredit, Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank.

BBG, a profitable company founded in 2005, employs more than 900 people in five countries and currently sells more than 3,700 products through 14 of its own brands in 28 countries and through 100 channels, according to Peter Chaljawski, CEO of BBG.

“We made our first acquisition in December 2020, and plan to accelerate acquisitions to one per week,” he added. “As of today, we have acquired 20 brands and are targeting the U.S. market. It is not a new market for us, but it is for acquisitions. Amazon has such a big share in the U.S., whereas in Europe, it is fragmented, so we will offer value to U.S. companies by bringing them into the European market.”

Often called rollup companies or aggregators, companies such as BBG, purchase thriving private labels and direct-to-consumer e-commerce brands that sell on marketplaces such as Amazon and Shopify, and then use their expertise and capital to take the brand to the next level.

In total, these companies raised just over $2.4 billion in known venture capital funding, with Thrasio leading the group with more than $1.6 billion, according to Crunchbase data.

For BBG, the financing will be deployed into acquisitions of U.S. direct-to-consumer brands, mostly on Amazon, that are generating revenue of $1 million to $100 million, Chaljawski said. BBG will integrate them into its global scaling platform.

Berlin Brands Group got its start selling disc jockey equipment, and in addition to entertainment and audio equipment, now sells kitchen appliances, sports equipment and living items.

“We will continue to focus on products and expand our variety,” Chaljawski said. “Value creation, technology and market expansion is important. As we focus more on U.S. markets, we will naturally grow there while providing them technology, logistics and a supply chain.”

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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