Axel Springer & General Atlantic Partner For Growth In Digital Classifieds Business

Axel Springer AG and growth investor General Atlantic LLC have signed an agreement according to which a new company called 'Axel Springer Digital Classifieds GmbH' (based in Germany) will be formed that will hold Axel Springer's digital classifieds business. While General Atlantic will have 30 per cent participation in the new company for which it has paid $311 (237 million euro), the parent company will hold the remaining 70 per cent interest in the business.

French real estate portal SeLoger, German real estate portal Immonet and the pan-European job portal StepStone will become part of the new joint venture that is valued at $1.64 billion (1.25 billion euro). The partnership between Axel Springer and General Atlantic is intended to develop Axel Springer Digital Classifieds into a leading international player in the digital classifieds markets.

Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Axel Springer AG said, "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."

Consolidating its existing assets into an independent company and bringing in General Atlantic as a partner and co-investor will allow Axel Springer to expand its business in the segment of digital classifieds in a targeted manner, as part of its digitization and internationalization strategy. Also, in addition to opportunities to invest and grow in the European markets, the JV anticipates investments in other developed and emerging markets.

"Axel Springer was an early leader in digital media establishing and acquiring several leading businesses across Europe. We are excited to be partnering with the Axel Springer Digital Classifieds team to develop their digital classified business to new heights globally," said Bill Ford, CEO of General Atlantic.

As of now, the transaction is pending, subject to prior consultation of the employee representatives in France, the exercise of an option by Axel Springer and the approval of the competent antitrust authorities.