A soccer ball always lies within reach in his large office. Udo Müller, chief executive of the advertising company Ströer, picks it up and dribbles it through the room while he telephones with his business partners and attempts to convince him of his ideas. Mr. Müller likes things to be sporty.
And in his most recent deal, he is hoping to enter the big leagues. Last week saw the purchase of T-Online, Germany’s most-viewed web portal, and the digital marketing company, Interactive Media, from Deutsche Telekom.
With one move, Ströer has moved beyond its old ambitions in outdoor advertising billboards and catapulted itself into the top tier of the digital advertising market in Germany.
The acquisition, amounting to €300 million, both strengthens the marketing business for online advertising space and, with the T-Online platform, simultaneously provides Ströer with valuable web content.
Being successful here is a matter of the sheer size that the Cologne family firm has to reach in order to hold its own in the digital market against such American players as Facebook and Google. Ströer has transformed itself more radically than almost any other company – and it only started the process in 2012.
Udo Müller is the man behind the company’s digital reinvention.