Swiss online marketplace Scout24 Schweiz, which presides over a network of motor vehicle, real estate and general classifieds, has scored a new investor in one of the country’s oldest private insurance companies Swiss Mobiliar.
Swiss Mobilar agreed to acquire a fifty per cent stake in Scout24 Schweiz, previously held by global investment firm KKR and other shareholders.
The deal is part of a strategic partnership between Swiss Mobiliar and Scout24 owner Ringier AG, Switzerland's largest international media company, with the intention of accelerating expansion. It is expected to take place in spring 2016.
Ringier will continue to consolidate Scout24 Schweiz and retain control of the company.
Swiss Mobiliar CEO Markus Hongler says the partnership will allow the company to be involved in a digital marketplace that is close to its core business, which it could not set up on its own.
"Scout24 Schweiz is an attractive, solid and profitable business with great growth potential," Hongler says. "Together with Ringier we will strive to develop it into the leading Swiss ecosystem around cars and real estate.”
KKR acquired its stake in Scout24 Schweiz in August 2014 with the goal of assisting Ringier to further develop the company’s market position and to fully realise its excellent growth potential.
As part of the partnership, KKR provided Scout24 Schweiz with financial resources and entrepreneurial capital, offering strategic and operational support and access to its global network.
According to Ringier CEO Marc Walder, Scout24 Schweiz benefitted from KKR’s extensive expertise in the media, digital and technology sectors and from access to its global network of advisors and technology experts.
"For example, KKR, brought Bob Bellack, co-founder of Cars.com and a renowned international sector expert, on to the company’s Board of Directors," Walder says.
"The successful partnership resulted in significantly accelerated growth that considerably exceeded all parties’ expectations."
Walder says under the umbrella of Scout24 Schweiz, the online marketplaces autoscout24.ch, motoscout24.ch, immoscout24.ch and the general classifieds platform anibis.ch have expanded their leading positions in their respective segments over the last two years.
With over 155,000 listed vehicles, AutoScout24 is the undisputed number one among Swiss online portals for new and used cars.
ImmoScout24 is one of the leading Swiss online platforms for residential and commercial properties with 76,000 listings placed each day and anibis.ch is the largest general classifieds marketplace in Switzerland with a total of 900,000 classified listings.
"Together, Scout24 Schweiz is the most comprehensive Swiss network of online marketplaces," Walder says. "The platforms have around 26 million visits a month, reaching about 35 per cent of the Swiss population."
Walder, who is also Chairman of Scout24's Board Directors adds together with Swiss Mobiliar – a strong Swiss company with a great tradition like Ringier, will now take the Scout24 Schweiz marketplaces to the next stage.”
Scout24 Schweiz CEO Olivier Rihs adds the valuable contribution of Ringier and KKR, along with experts like Bob Bellack enabled the business to develop significantly over the last two years.
"Our digital marketplaces have been bundled under one roof and belong to the best and most diversified network worldwide," Rihs says.
"We have a highly qualified team, cutting edge technology, innovative products, and accordingly strong growth. All of this leaves us well positioned for the future collaboration with Swiss Mobiliar.”
Financial details of the transaction will not be disclosed.