Axel Springer Expects Core Profit Increase

German publisher Axel Springer said it expects its core profit to increase this year after its online ad sales drove a 16 percent gain in 2011 profit, writes Reuters. The company on Tuesday announced a deal with General Atlantic to take a stake in its online classified adverts business and provide platforms Seloger.com, Immonet and Stepstone with cash to fund rapid international expansion, reports Reuters.

Reuters – German publisher Axel Springer said it expects its core profit to increase slightly this year after its online ad sales drove a 16 percent gain in 2011 profit.

The group, the publisher of Germany’s biggest selling daily Bild, said on Wednesday it sees 2012 revenue improving by a single-digit percentage on the back of a further gain in advertising revenue.

In 2011, advertising revenue rose 16 percent as a 42 percent jump in the digital media business offset a decline in revenues from ads in Axel Springer’s national newspapers and magazines.

Chief Executive Mathias Doepfner sought early on to offset declining print sales at home by venturing into digital activities and expanding outside Germany. The former journalist, who studied music, German and drama, is also one of the most vocal supporters of charging for online content.

Axel Springer on Tuesday announced a deal that will see U.S. private equity firm General Atlantic take a stake in its online classified adverts business and provide platforms Seloger.com, Immonet and Stepstone with cash to fund rapid international expansion.

“The persistent digitization of our business at home and abroad remains the key to the long-term success of the company,” Doepfner said on Wednesday.

Group earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 16 percent to 593.4 million euros ($778 million) in 2011, which was just above the 591 million euro average of estimates in a Reuters poll.

Group sales rose 10 percent to 3.18 billion euros, also just above consensus.

Based in Berlin, Axel Springer is majority owned by the Axel Springer Society. The company is active in 35 countries with some 240 newspapers and magazines and more than 140 online activities. ($1 = 0.7625 euros) (Reporting by Maria Sheahan)

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