Your Nexxt Partner

The online platform nexxt-change makes it easy for investors to search for German companies up for sale. Foreign companies can also discover SMEs and family businesses that are looking to partner up.

June 2020

When looking for companies to acquire, would you consider an online matching service? In Germany, so-called platform partnering is common. For example, Dennis Wronski used nexxt-change to look for a company to buy. He came across a traditional company called MABA Spezialmaschinen, with more than 30 employees. The former owner, Ingrid Weinhold, was keen to sell her business and they quickly came to an agreement. Nexxt-change matches potential investors with German companies looking for a buyer.

Run in part by Germany’s Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, nexxt-change thoroughly reviews every advertisement before publication and vets the companies placing them. For foreign investors, the platform offers up bona fide opportunities to take over German companies with established business models and a foot already in the market.

Angelika Sielmann (left) was looking for someone to take over her company. She was introduced to the nexxt-change platform by Petra Maskow (right), head of business development at the Rhein-Erft branch of the Cologne Chamber of Industry and Commerce. © Ulrich Kaifer

Finding a partner online

There are currently over 5,000 advertisements from companies who are seeking partners, and investors can message the owners via the platform. If the company owner is interested in further discussion, he or she contacts the investor, and the two of them can start sales negotiations. If investors do not find a suitable company straight away, they can also submit a request specifying what kind of company they are looking for, what qualifications they have and how much they want to invest.

A lack of German language skills is not a barrier to doing business. If required, Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI) can help foreign investors formulate a purchase request in German and post it on the platform.

Germany has a very broad and prosperous Mittelstand (the small to medium-sized business community or SMEs), and only about half of these businesses are passed on to family members, so there are numerous opportunities for buyers. Only 29 percent of SME owners sell their companies when they retire, while 10 percent hand them over to an employee. According to the research institute for German SMEs, the IfM Bonn, there are 8,700 entrepreneurs in Germany looking to sell their business to a successor outside the family and the company. And this figure is predicted to increase, mainly because the German population is ageing. Thus, many excellent companies are currently on the look-out for a buyer or successor.