Hot on the heals of its equity exchange with Madsack, Axel Springer has partnered with venture capital firm General Atlantic to spin out the online classifieds businesses into a new entity called Axel Springer Digital Classifieds.
The new entity will include jobs portal Stepstone, its 88.7% equity stake in real estate portal Immonet.de and the market leading French real estate portal SeLoger, with all its assets. One of the key assets owned by SeLoger is 16.1 percent of the iProperty Group, the owner and operator of market leading property portals in Asia including Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, the Phillipines, India and two regional portals.
The deal involves Axel Springer selling 30% of the new entity to General Atlantic for euro 237m (US$310m). The businesses put into the new company were valued at euro 790 million and Axel Springer will also inject another euro 460 million to being the combined value of the new company to around euro 1.25 billion.
The valuation of the combined entity at euro 790 million seems low especially since Axel Springer acquired Seloger for euro 637 million in 2011.
Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Axel Springer AG: “The successful digital classifieds SeLoger, StepStone and Immonet have been a crucial element of Axel Springer’s digitization strategy for years. Consolidating this business within a new, very well capitalized company will create entirely new opportunities for rapid growth and further internationalization. In General Atlantic, we have found an outstanding partner to implement this goal with us.”
“Axel Springer was an early leader in digital media establishing and acquiring several leading businesses across Europe,” said Bill Ford, CEO of General Atlantic. “We are excited to be partnering with the Axel Springer Digital Classifieds team to develop their digital classified business to new heights globally.”
Clearly Axel Springer is looking to expand its business outside of Germany. Its recent investment, via Seloger, into the iProperty Group clearly demonstrates this. The new company is cashed up and with the backing of General Atlantic, will be on the hunt for more acquisitions. One can only assume that property portals in emerging markets will be in their sights.
The deal is subject to approval by the authorities in Germany and France.