German telecoms operator Deutsche Telekom has sold a 70% stake in digital portal Scout24, which includes Germany’s largest property portal, to US private equity business Hellman and Friedman LLC, for about €1.5bn in cash.
The Scout24 group, which includes a range of separate portals for cars, jobs, travel, dating and classified real estate ads with market-leading portal ImmobilienScout24, claims 14 million monthly users – and ten million property-seeking visitors. Telekom bought the division ten years ago from the Swiss group Beisheim Holding for €180m in cash, when it had a turnover of €70m and barely any profits. Analysts estimate current group turnover at about €350m with an EBITDA of €100m.
Publisher Axel Springer Group, which owns rival property portal Immonet.de, had originally considered bidding for Scout24, but withdrew some months ago, while other bidders included private equity groups EQT Partners AB and Silver Lake Management LLC.
Hellman and Friedman have a strong track record in the German media scene, having previously been a majority owner of TV group ProSiebenSat1, and a minority shareholder in Axel Springer Group. Telecom will retain a 30% stake in the Scout24 business, but the sale provides useful cash for the company’s war-chest as it seeks to raise money for building high-speed mobile networks in its key European markets, while shedding non-core internet and content businesses.