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Axel Springer acquires Business Insider

Axel Springer SE, today announced a binding agreement to purchase approximately 88 per cent of the shares in New York City-based Business Insider. This 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 innovative digital journalism.

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

The purchase price based on 100 per cent of Business Insider amounts to US $442m (currently approximately €395m) on the basis of a cash and debt free valuation of $390m (currently approximately €348m). The valuation corresponds to an amount of $343m (currently approximately €306m) for the 88 per cent of the shares that Axel Springer is acquiring. Axel Springer already holds a stake of approximately nine percent 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.

Henry Blodget, Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Editor-in-Chief, and Julie Hansen, Chief Operating Officer and President, will continue to lead Business Insider in their respective roles. They will also remain significantly invested in Business Insider through an extensive, long-term equity incentive. 

Kenneth Lerer, Managing Partner at leading 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. 

Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Axel Springer SE: "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 Insider¹s 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."

Henry Blodget, Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Editor-in-Chief of Business Insider: "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 organisation for the digital century."

With its purely digital business model and focus on millennials, the sought-after target audience of 18 to 34-year-olds, Business Insider is a pioneer among business news portals. It has built a reputation on critical and exclusive reporting that aligns well with how news is consumed on social and mobile channels. Business Insider also offers a paid subscription-based research and information service, known as BI Intelligence.

Business Insider was launched in 2007 by Henry Blodget, Kevin Ryan and Dwight Merriman. It employs more than 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.

Julie Hansen will be speaking at the FIPP World Congress in Toronto.

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