ZF Friedrichshafen AG Sells Cherry Group
Baker & McKenzie advised ZF Friedrichshafen AG on the sale of Cherry Group to the German private investment company GENUI. The takeover which requires no regulatory approvals is planned for conclusion in November this year. Details of the financial agreement will remain undisclosed.
Genui and the Cherry Management have announced the acquisition of the international Cherry Group from the technology group ZF Friedrichshafen AG. Excellent growth prospects for the computer input device manufacturer and its employees will result from the investment. Finding a new owner for Cherry that offers the company and its employees a solid future with good prospects was important to ZF. ZF wants to concentrate on its core business, making the sale of the wholly owned subsidiary a logical step. The Cherry Group, which posted sales of roughly 80 million euros last year, has 380 employees worldwide, 280 of whom work at the company’s headquarters in Auerbach, situated between Nuremberg and Bayreuth.
Baker & McKenzie advised ZF Friedrichshafen AG on all legal aspects of the sale of the Cherry Group. Previously, Baker & McKenzie had already accompanied the cross-border carve-out, in which the Cherry Group was formed into a legally independent group.
"We are very pleased that we were able to support the successful sale of the Cherry Group after the carve-out," commented Dr. Ingo Strauss, Corporate / M&A Partner in Düsseldorf.
The Cherry Group headquartered in Auerbach, Germany, ranks among the world’s leading manufacturers of computer input devices with a focus on office, industry, IT security and switches for mechanical keyboards, among other things, for PC gaming. ZF acquired the Cherry Corporation in 2008 and created a separate product line for its computer input devices. This product line, which is now being acquired by GENUI, has been operating independently on the market as the Cherry Group since the beginning of this year.
GENUI is a private investment firm established by a group of exceptional entrepreneurs and investment experts. GENUI provides long-term investments (with a scope of 10 years or more) in medium-sized companies in German-speaking countries.
ZF is a global leader in driveline and chassis technology as well as active and passive safety technology. The company acquired TRW Automotive on May 15, 2015, which was then integrated within the organization as the Active & Passive Safety Technology Division. The combined company reported sales of €29.2 billion in 2015 and now has a global workforce of around 135,000 with approximately 230 locations in some 40 countries. ZF annually invests approximately five percent of its sales in Research & Development (€1.4 billion in 2015) ensuring continued success through the design and engineering of innovative technologies. ZF is one of the largest automotive suppliers worldwide.
The Corporate/M&A team of Baker & McKenzie regularly advises clients on cross-border transactions and reorganizations. Most recently Baker & McKenzie advised Hillhouse Capital on acquiring Gimborn, ALBA Group on the acquisition of a Chinese investor, Deutsche Beteiligungs AG on the minority interest in the R&M International GmbH and previously in the participation of the Swiss mageba AG, GFKL Lowell Group on the acquisition of Tesch collection, Dassault Systèmes on the acquisition of the CST group, Sulzer on the takeover of the GEKA group of 3i, Allegion on the acquisition of Trelock, RWE and E.ON on the sale of their shares in the Luxembourg energy supplier Enovos, Deutsche Beteiligungs AG on a non-controlling interest in mageba AG, HITACHI Koki on the acquisition of Metabo AG, Barry-Wehmiller group on the acquisition of the operations of Winkler+Dünnebier GmbH, ZF Friedrichshafen AG on the acquisition of the industrial and wind turbine business of Bosch Rexroth AG, Group Le Duff on the acquisition of Kamps and Telefónica/E-Plus on the sale of yourfone to Drillisch.
Legal Legal advisor to ZF Friedrichshafen AG (carve-out and sales process):
Baker & McKenzie
Lead: Corporate / M&A: Dr. Ingo Strauss (partner, Düsseldorf)
Team: Corporate: Dr. Heiko Gotsche (partner, Düsseldorf), Dr. Barbara Deilmann (partner, Düsseldorf), Christian Atzler (partner, Frankfurt), Jana Upschulte (associate, Düsseldorf), Dr. Janina Schreiber (associate, Düsseldorf)
IP: Dr. Benjamin Koch (partner, Munich)
IT: Dr. Holger Lutz (partner, Frankfurt)
Employment: Dr. Christian Reichel (partner, Frankfurt), Dr. Hagen Köckeritz (partner, Frankfurt)
Antitrust: Christian Horstkotte (partner, Düsseldorf)
Other lawyers from the Baker & McKenzie offices in Paris, Hong Kong, London, Chicago and Shanghai
Inhouse ZF Friedrichshafen AG: Michael Georgi, Frank Jaeger, Kathrin Dotzel