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Deal 5: Studenac CEO Michal Senczuk on Acquisition of Pemo

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On February 21, 2022, CEE Legal Matters reported that Savoric & Partners had advised Studenac on its acquisition of Pemo from founder Lovorko Milosevic. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Michal Senczuk, CEO of Studenac, to learn more about the acquisition.

CEEIHM: Let's start with an introduction of Studenac and its operations.

Senczuk: Studenac is Croatia’s largest retailer by the number of stores – we have established our leading position with the acquisition of Pemo and now have almost 750 stores. We were founded in 1991 and acquired in 2018 by the regional private equity fund Enterprise Investors. We have made a series of acquisitions since then and expanded from our home region of the Dalmatian coast to Croatia’s capital, Zagreb. We have an international management team and we are building a world-class proximity chain, bringing innovative concepts from top global players to the local market. As Enterprise Investors said when we announced the Pemo deal, they have invested EUR 250 million in Croatian retail, and this acquisition isn’t our final word.

CEEIHM: What about Pemo – what made it particularly attractive for you as a target?

Senczuk: In addition to our nationwide expansion, we are continuing to work on expanding our presence in the southern part of Croatia. Pemo is a well-run business in the Dubrovnik area, operating in established locations. Over the years they have built up impressive customer loyalty, which is one of the things that made us want to acquire it.

CEEIHM: And what are the next steps, now, post-acquisition?

Senczuk: At the moment we are in the process of integrating the business and utilizing the potential of synergies while making sure we preserve everything that Pemo’s customers value in its stores. We are looking to keep all the unique offers that Pemo had on the market. That is what made Pemo a well-recognized brand, extremely successful with consumers in its home market of southern Croatia. At the same time, we are planning to roll out best practices from Studenac into Pemo stores, giving customers an even better shopping experience.

CEEIHM: How was the legal work split between your in-house legal team and that of your external advisors at Savoric & Partners?

Senczuk: Savoric & Partners supported us throughout most of the acquisitions mentioned earlier, including Istarski Supermarketi and Sonik, and also worked on Enterprise Investors’ acquisition of Studenac. Their support covered the entire acquisition process: from the term sheet through the closing. The key focus was on legal due diligence, SPA drafting and negotiations, work on the approval process at the Croatian Competition Agency, and successful signing and closing. Our in-house team provided oversight to make sure the work adhered to our corporate standards, and also provided insights into a number of examples from our experience with other acquisitions that could have an impact on the deal.  

CEEIHM: Why did you choose this firm, in particular, to assist on the deal?

Senczuk: Over the past few years we have developed a very good relationship with Savoric & Partners. They have supported us, as well as Enterprise Investors, on a number of deals, in addition to advising us on various complex corporate legal matters. The working relationship with them is very smooth and easy. Partner Nina Radic Kuzik was responsible for the Pemo project and was our key contact point. She and her colleagues identified a number of issues that needed to be carefully addressed, and also proposed solutions for several challenges that came up during the project. We value their responsiveness, fast-thinking analysis, and problem-solving, as well as their ability "to think outside the box."

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