One of the leading European publishers, Axel Springer has acquired the New York-based Business Insider for $442 million on the basis of a cash and debt free valuation of $390 million. With this acquisition, Axel has enlisted itself amongst the six largest publishing houses in the world.
New York based Business Insider has 76 million unique monthly visitors which shall add to Axel Springer’s reach by over 200 million users.
Axel Springer already has a stake of 9% in Business Insider and with the latest acquisition of another 88%; Axel will now own 97% of Business Insider. Bezos Expeditions, the personal investment company of Jeff Bezos, will hold the remaining shares as per the official declaration made by Alex Springer.
“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,” said Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Axel Springer.
Expressing his opinion on the acquisition, Henry Blodget, Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Editor-in-Chief of Business Insider, said:
“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 more than 325 people, approximately 50% of whom are journalists. In addition to its U.S. 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.
The acquisition has set a high watermark in native digital publisher sales. In 2011, Huffington Post’s acquisition by AOL had created quite a stir in the industry. The deal was closed for a good $315 million. While several big digital publishers have taken on financing which places the value their companies above Business Insider’s sale price, none of them could actually manage to be sold at those levels. In fact, a company like Gigaom was started in 2006 by Om Malik, and reached a peak of over 5.5 million global readers per month in 2012 had to shut down its operations in March this year owing to heavy debts.