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Carlsquare advises fitvia on the sale of a majority stake to Dermapharm

fitvia, one of the most successful healthy lifestyle start-ups in Europe, has welcomed a strategic partner on board: Dermapharm AG, a leading manufacturer of patent-free branded pharmaceuticals in Germany, will provide support for growth and product development in the future. In return, 70 percent of fitvia is passing to the Munich company. fitvia founder Sebastian Merkhoffer, who will continue to run fitvia, is retaining 30 percent.

The healthy lifestyle start-up fitvia from Wiesbaden distributes healthy food and supplements in the healthy living sector through its own online shop – from tea and cereals up to an extensive product portfolio in the weight control, wellness, beauty and healthy nutrition categories. fitvia was one of the first companies in Germany to rely exclusively and systematically on influencer marketing and social media – previously an almost unknown marketing approach – which they have done since establishing the company in 2014.

Healthy lifestyle is one of the fastest growing consumer segments. Europe-wide, estimated sales for 2019 of functional food are €30.8 billion, for tea €3.8 billion, food supplements €25.5 billion and cereals €7.1 billion – and rising. The fitvia product portfolio covers precisely these trends. With success: for 2019, fitvia’s sales are estimated at approximately €20 million, generating earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of approximately €3.5 million.

“We want to use the strategic partnership with Dermapharm to create synergies in product development and to expand our product portfolio,” says Sebastian Merkhoffer. “Demand is high, the market has huge potential, which is where a listed company like Dermapharm with all its experience will be perfect in helping us move forward.”

Dermapharm has its own production facilities and a sophisticated value creation chain. fitvia wants to use this in the future in order to create new products quicker and to be able to bring them onto the market. They also intend to rapidly drive forward internationalisation together.

“Health-conscious consumers are better informed about nutrition today. With the investment in fitvia GmbH we are expanding our own value creation chain and further extending our expertise in healthy nutrition,” says Karin Samusch, member of the Management Board of Dermapharm Holding SE.

The purchase agreement still requires the approval of the cartel authorities.

Carlsquare acted as the exclusive financial advisor for fitvia. This means Carlsquare has successfully completed its tenth e-commerce transaction in the past 18 months, thus further expanding its leading position as a financial advisor in the e-commerce segment.

About fitvia
With an international team of 60 employees, fitvia is one of the most successful healthy lifestyle start-ups in Europe. The Wiesbaden-based company was founded by Sebastian Merkhoffer in 2014 and is seen as a pioneer of influencer marketing. fitvia makes healthy lifestyle products accessible to everyone and pursues the vision of making the world a bit healthier and happier. Passion for products with the highest quality, careful expertise and a strongly customer-oriented philosophy form the foundations for success. Today, fitvia supplies its premium lifestyle products worldwide in seven countries. fitvia now makes approximately 50 percent of its sales abroad. Since the end of 2018 the company has also offered cosmetics in the beauty sector under the bellavia brand in addition to food and supplements.

About Dermapharm
Dermapharm is a leading manufacturer of patent-free branded medicines for selected markets in Germany. The company, founded in 1991, is based in Grünwald near Munich and has its main production location in Brehna near Leipzig. The company’s integrated business model comprises internal development, its own production facilities and sales of medicines and other health products for selected markets distributed by a pharmaceutically-trained sales force. Dermapharm has about 900 drug approvals for more than 250 substances, which are distributed as medicines, food supplements or supplements for balanced diets.

About Carlsquare
Carlsquare offers integrated cross-border M&A advice for medium-sized transactions. Carlsquare – a partner-managed corporate finance boutique – assists companies and their shareholders in achieving their strategic goals. Carlsquare is represented in Europe by 70 employees in Berlin, Copenhagen, Hamburg, London, Munich and Stockholm.


Client: Fitiva
Industry: Consumer/Internet
Assignment: Sellside
Michael Moritz
Michael Moritz LinkedIn
Managing Partner
Nico Schmidt-Weidemann
Nico Schmidt-Weidemann
Managing Partner