Buyout firms including Hellman & Friedman, Apax Partners, and Permira were among the other bidders expected to submit offers for AutoScout24 when the auction begins.
It is not certain whether Carsales would proceed with an offer, one person cautioned, saying that the size of the AutoScout24 business is roughly equivalent to the Australian company’s own market value.
Shares in Carsales were down 0.3% in Sydney just recently.
The stock has climbed 53% over the past year, giving the company a market capitalisation of €2.5 billion. Any deal would probably require the Australian company, which has been expanding into new markets in recent years, to raise new equity and debt to finance a deal, this person said.
Another person added that there was no guarantee that Scout24, a German online classifieds group, will proceed with a sale unless the company’s price expectations were met.
Scout24 declined to comment, while Carsales did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Hellman & Friedman and Permira also did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Apax Partners declined to comment.
Scout24’s management has faced pressure from activist investor Elliott Advisors, the European arm of Paul Singer’s New York-based hedge fund, for months. Elliott said in a letter in August that the company’s management had a “shocking” lack of ambition and pushed for a shake-up of its strategy, including the separation of its core property listings business from the car trading platform.
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