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Axel Springer and General Atlantic establish strategic partnership for growth initiative in digital classifieds business

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Axel Springer and General Atlantic establish strategic partnership for growth initiative in digital classifieds business

SeLoger, StepStone and Immonet will become part of the new company “Axel Springer Digital Classifieds GmbH” valued at EUR 1.25 billion / Axel Springer remains majority shareholder with equity interest of 70 percent

Axel Springer AG and global growth investor General Atlantic LLC today signed an agreement which relates to a future 30 percent-participation of General Atlantic in “Axel Springer Digital Classifieds GmbH”, a new company which will hold Axel Springer’s digital classifieds business. Axel Springer shall contribute the leading French real estate portal SeLoger, the German real estate portal Immonet, and the pan-European job portal StepStone to the new joint venture in a transaction which values the holding at EUR 1.25 billion. Once the transaction is completed Axel Springer will hold 70 percent of the equity in Axel Springer Digital Classifieds, which will be based in Germany.

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. Consolidating its existing assets into an independent company and bringing in General Atlantic as an experienced partner and co-investor enhances Axel Springer’s ability to expand its business in the attractive segment of digital classifieds in a targeted manner, as part of its digitization and internationalization strategy. It will also put Axel Springer Digital Classifieds in a better position to grow both organically and through future acquisitions. In addition to opportunities to invest and grow in the European markets, the joint venture anticipates investments in other developed and emerging markets.

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.”

The transaction is based on a valuation of the participations to be contributed in the amount of EUR 1.25 billion. In the context of the transfer of the participations into the new company certain receivables will accrue for Axel Springer. These will subsequently be converted into a loan for the benefit of Axel Springer in an aggregate amount of EUR 460 million. Based on an equity value of then EUR 790 million General Atlantic will pay a purchase price of EUR 237 million for the 30 percent-participation to Axel Springer.

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

About General Atlantic:
General Atlantic is a leading global growth equity firm providing capital and strategic support for growth companies. General Atlantic combines a collaborative global approach, sector specific expertise, long-term investment horizon and a deep understanding of growth drivers to partner with great management and build exceptional businesses worldwide.

General Atlantic has invested in over 200 growth companies globally. The firm has made several investments in leading ecommerce companies including Dice, SouFun and MercadoLibre among many others. Established in 1980, General Atlantic manages approximately $17 billion in capital and has more than 75 investment professionals based in Greenwich, New York, Palo Alto, London, Düsseldorf, Hong Kong, Beijing, Singapore, Mumbai and São Paulo.

media contact: Christian Garrels

media contact: Daniel Fard-Yazdani