×

Germany’s Axel Springer Buys Business Insider in $343 Million Deal

Axel Springer, one of Europe’s largest digital publishing and media conglomerates, announced a deal to acquire U.S.-based news and events company Business Insider for about $343 million.

The addition of Business Insider’s 76 million unique monthly visitors will increase Axel Springer’s worldwide digital audience by two-thirds, the company said, to approximately 200 million users.

The move comes after Axel Springer failed in its effort to acquire U.K.-based Financial Times — snapped up by Japan’s Nikkei Inc. in July — and merger talks with ProSiebenSat.1 ended without a deal.

The deal values Business Insider at $442 million. Axel Springer already holds a 9% stake in BI; following the deal announced Tuesday, it will hold a stake of approximately 97%. Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos’ Bezos Expeditions investment firm will hold the remaining shares. The BI deal is subject to approval by antitrust regulators.

“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,” Axel Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner said in announcing the deal.

BI founder and CEO Henry Blodget and president and COO Julie Hansen will continue to run the company under Axel Springer’s ownership and will receive “extensive” long-term equity incentives, the company said. Kenneth Lerer, managing partner at VC firm Lerer Hippeau Ventures who also is co-founder of Huffington Post and chairman of Buzzfeed, will receive a seat on BI’s board.

New York-based Business Insider, launched in 2007, has 325 people employees (about half of whom are journalists). Axel Springer said it plans to launch a German edition of BI in the fourth quarter of 2015 that will be operated by its finanzen.net subsidiary.

In recent years the Berlin-based company has been steadily boosting its U.S. presence. Axel Springer owns a majority holding in shopping platform Retale, which has been active in the U.S. market since 2013 through the Bonial.com Group, and holds stakes in news platform Mic.com, virtual-reality startup Jaunt, social-video news startup NowThis Media and startup A Plus. It also has a joint venture with Politico U.S. to produce the European edition of Politico in Brussels.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Elite Season 2

    San Sebastian: Spain’s SVOD Players Debate Competition, Brand, Talent

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — Executives from HBO, Netflix, Amazon and Movistar+ and “Elite” co-creator Darío Madrona took to the stage to field questions on the Global Impact of Spanish Series. Here, briefly, are five takeaways: 1.Spain First “La Casa de Papel” was watched by 34,355,956 Netflix accounts over its first seven days,  after a July 19 [...]

  • Tinder - Swipe Night

    Tinder's Apocalyptic 'Swipe Night' Interactive Dating Show Sets Release Date

    Tinder next month will bow its first original entertainment content — “Swipe Night,” an interactive adventure series in which viewers are forced to make dating choices on humanity’s last night on Earth. Variety previously reported details of the location-based social network/dating app service’s foray into original content, which recently wrapped production in Mexico City and [...]

  • Editorial Use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    YouTube Rolls Back Verification Changes, Says Verified Creators Can Keep Their Badge

    A day after announcing significant changes to its verification program, YouTube announced Friday afternoon that it won’t be de-verifying existing creators after all. “We heard loud and clear how much the badge means to you,” said YouTube product manager Jonathan McPhie in a blog post. “Channels that already have the verification badge will now keep it [...]

  • BLive: BitTorrent Live Streaming App to

    BitTorrent to Launch Public Beta of New Live Streaming App

    BitTorrent is getting ready to open the floodgates for its new live streaming app, dubbed BitTorrent Live: The company plans to launch a BitTorrent Live Android app on various app stores as part of a public beta test late Friday, according to a spokesperson. BitTorrent Live, which is also known as BLive, is being described [...]

  • Netflix - Apple TV

    Netflix Stock Drops After CEO Acknowledges 'Tough Competition' Coming From Disney, Apple

    Netflix shares fell as much as 7% Friday to a nine-month low, coming after CEO Reed Hastings commented that the November launches of Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus will introduce a “whole new world” of competition. Hastings, speaking at the Royal Television Society conference Friday in Cambridge, England, said, “While we’ve been competing with [...]

  • Facebook

    Facebook Suspends Tens of Thousands of Apps During Privacy Investigation

    Facebook has suspended tens of thousands of apps ever since it began investigating potential privacy abuses, the company said Friday. The apps in question had been built by around 400 developers, and a suspension doesn’t necessarily indicate actual privacy violations. Facebook began combing through millions of apps that made use of its platform after the [...]

  • tivo logo

    Tivo Plans to Launch Android TV Dongle, Tivo+ Curation App

    DVR maker Tivo is getting ready to release a new device that may not record television at all: The company plans to launch a $50 Roku-like TV dongle early next year, its new CEO Dave Shull revealed in a conversation with CNN this week. The new device will be powered by Google’s Android TV platform, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content