Axel Springer is planning to extend its international classifieds activities through the acquisition of 51% of Car&Boat Media, operator of the classifieds portal LaCentrale.fr amongst others, from the French media company Spir Communication for a price of EUR 72 million, corresponding to a company valuation of EUR 142 million.
Car&Boat Media was founded in 2007 and is the leading French specialized market place for used cars on the internet. In addition to LaCentrale.fr, Promoneuve.fr (market place for new cars), Annoncesbateau.com (leading market place for boats), Caradisiac.com (content and community around cars) and Garantie System (broker for guarantees for used cars) are part of Car&Boat Media. Around 200 employees work for the Paris-based company. François Couffy, CEO of Car&Boat Media since 2006, would remain in his position.
Andreas Wiele, President Marketing and Classified Ad Models at Axel Springer SE: “LaCentrale is a dynamic asset and Car &Boat Media a company with high potential and a passionate team. It fits perfectly into our growing international classifieds portfolio and adds the very important automotive category to Axel Springer Digital Classifieds. Beyond that we are looking forward to a successful partnership with Spir Communication.”
Thierry Vallenet, CEO of Spir Communication: “Through the contemplated sale of half of our stake in Car&Boat Media, we offer the company new growth perspectives. The operational support and the huge expertise of Axel Springer in classifieds and digital publishing would be particularly valuable. The proceeds of such sale would allow the financing of the transformation plan implemented by the Spir Group.”
Axel Springer’s online classifieds business is bundled into Axel Springer Digital Classifieds, with Axel Springer holding a 70 percent share and the US-based growth investor General Atlantic holding a 30 percent share. The European online job portal StepStone and the market-leading job portal in the United Kingdom, Totaljobs, the leading real estate portals in France (SeLoger) and Belgium (Immoweb), the German property portal Immonet and the German city portal meinestadt.de are all part of Axel Springer Digital Classifieds.
The share capital of Spir Communication group is comprised of 66.4% held by Sofiouest group, 31.0% held by the public and 2.6% of treasury shares.
A global actor of proximity communication, Spir Communication structures its offer around a variety of communication media and services: Distribution of Printed Advertising (Adrexo), Real Estate Specialist Media (Logic-Immo.com, Lux-residence.com and Demeures & Châteaux), Automotive Specialist Media (Caradisiac.com, Lacentrale.fr), Printing (Imprimeries IPS) and General Media (TOP, Topannonces.fr, Les-bonnes-promos.com).
The group is the employer of approximately 2,500 persons and 23,000 distributors with a 2013 annual turnover of EUR 515 million.
Spir Communication also notably holds a stake of 25% in the share capital of 20 Minutes France SAS, the editing company of the free press newspaper 20 Minutes and 20Minutes.fr website, and a stake of 40% in the share capital of Média Courtage SAS, the editing company of AcommeAssure.com website, an insurance comparative broker.
media contact: Hendrik Lange