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Axel Springer acquires Business Insider

MUMBAI: Axel Springer SE, the leading digital publisher in Europe, has announced a binding agreement to purchase approximately 88 per cent of the shares in New York City-based Business Insider, a leading digital offering for business news in the US.

The purchase price based on 100 per cent of Business Insider amounts to $442 million on the basis of a cash and debt free valuation of $390 million.

The valuation corresponds to an amount of $343 million for the 88 per cent of the shares that Axel Springer is acquiring. Axel Springer already holds a stake of approximately 9 per cent in the company and, after this purchase, will hold a stake of approximately 97 per cent. Bezos Expeditions, the personal investment company of Jeff Bezos, will hold the further shares.

Business Insider founder CEO and editor-in-chief Henry Blodget and COO and president Julie Hansen will continue to lead the offering in their respective roles. They will also remain significantly invested in Business Insider through a long-term equity incentive. Kenneth Lerer, managing partner at early-stage technology venture capital firm Lerer Hippeau Ventures, co-founder of Huffington Post and chairman of Buzzfeed, will receive a seat on the board of Business Insider.

Axel Springer SE CEO Mathias Döpfner said, “With the acquisition of Business Insider, we continue with our strategy to expand Axel Springer’s digital reach and, as previously announced, invest in digital journalism companies in English-speaking regions of the world. Business Insider has set new standards in digital business journalism globally. Henry Blodget’s way of digital storytelling reaches tomorrow’s decision-makers. Combining our forces will allow us to unlock growth potential and expand Business Insider’s portfolio to new verticals, new locations and new digital content. We look forward to working together with Henry Blodget, Julie Hansen and the exceptional Business Insider team to continue shaping the future. At the same time, I am thrilled to have our close partner Ken Lerer joining us.”

The acquisition is a vital part of Axel Springer’s strategy to broaden its global reach, diversify its English-language offerings, and expand its commitment to digital journalism.

The addition of Business Insider’s 76 million unique monthly visitors will increase Axel Springer’s worldwide digital audience by two-thirds to approximately 200 million users, making the company one of the world’s six largest digital publishers in terms of reach, a statement mentioned.

Blodget added, “We have tremendous respect for Axel Springer’s commitment to independent journalism and its global vision for the future. It is a pleasure and privilege to join forces with such a smart, forward-thinking team. We look forward to working together to build a major global news organization for the digital century.”

Business Insider was launched in 2007 by Henry Blodget, Kevin Ryan and Dwight Merriman. It employs over 325 people, approximately 50 per cent of whom are journalists. In addition to its US news sites, the company has a growing international presence, with local editions or licenses in seven other countries. A German edition will be introduced in the fourth quarter of this year and will be operated by finanzen.net, a company of Axel Springer SE. Editions for other countries are in development.

Axel Springer will finance this acquisition using existing credit lines. The transaction is subject to approval by relevant antitrust authorities.