Springer gives General Atlantic shares for classified ads stake: Reuters

Axel Springer (SPRGn.DE) has agreed to buy the 15 percent of its digital classified advertising business it doesn’t own from General Atlantic in exchange for shares, leaving the private equity firm with an 8.3 percent holding in the German publisher.

Springer will give the U.S. buyout group 8.95 million new shares, it said on Wednesday, making the deal worth about 465 million euros ($507.83 million) based on Tuesday’s closing share price of 51.94 euros.

The publisher, which owned 70 percent of the classifieds business when it was set up with General Atlantic, paid 446 million euros when it bought back 15 percent last year, with an option to buy the remaining 15 percent later.
Axel Springer and General Atlantic created the business in 2012, combining French real estate portal SeLoger, the German real estate portal Immonet and European online job exchange StepStone.

Since then it has been Axel Springer’s main growth driver, offsetting declines at its print business, which includes Europ’s best-selling tabloid newspaper Bild.

In the third quarter the digital classified advertising business accounted for 61 percent of Axel Springer’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA).