ZURICH--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ringier AG (Ringier), the largest international media company in Switzerland, and Swiss Mobiliar, the country’s oldest private insurance company, have agreed to form a strategic partnership whereby Swiss Mobiliar will become the new joint shareholder in Scout24 Schweiz AG (Scout24 Schweiz), the leading network of online marketplaces for motor vehicles, real estate and general classifieds. Swiss Mobiliar will acquire a fifty per cent stake in Scout24 Schweiz, previously held by KKR and other shareholders, in spring 2016. Ringier will continue to consolidate Scout24 Schweiz and will therefore retain control of the company.
KKR, a leading global investment firm, acquired its stake in Scout24 Schweiz in August 2014. Alongside Ringier, KKR’s goal was to further develop the company’s already strong market position and to fully realise its excellent growth potential. Scout24 Schweiz benefitted from KKR’s extensive expertise in the media, digital and technology sectors and from access to its global network of advisors and technology experts. KKR, for example, brought Bob Bellack, co-founder of Cars.com and a renowned international sector expert, onto the company’s Board of Directors. The successful partnership resulted in significantly accelerated growth that considerably exceeded all parties’ expectations.
Under the umbrella of Scout24 Schweiz, the online marketplaces autoscout24.ch, motoscout24.ch, immoscout24.ch and the general classifieds platform anibis.ch were able to further expand their leading positions in their respective segments over the last two years. With over 155,000 listed vehicles, AutoScout24 is the undisputed number one among Swiss online portals for new and used cars. ImmoScout24 is the leading Swiss online platform for residential and commercial properties with 76,000 listings placed each day and anibis.ch is the largest general classifieds marketplace in Switzerland with a total of 900,000 classified listings. Together, Scout24 Schweiz is the most comprehensive Swiss network of online marketplaces. The platforms have around 26 million visits a month, reaching about 35 per cent of the Swiss population.
Marc Walder, CEO of Ringier and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Scout24 Schweiz, said: “Scout24 Schweiz has been able to substantially improve its market position in the last two years and has accelerated its growth. KKR has contributed a huge amount to the excellent development of the company. We would like to thank our partner, as well as all of the terrific employees in the Scout24 team. Together with Swiss Mobiliar – like Ringier a strong Swiss company with a great tradition – we will now take the Scout24 Schweiz marketplaces to the next stage.”
Philipp Freise, Member and Head of Technology, Media and Telecoms at KKR Europe, said: “The partnership with Ringier has been a great success for all those involved. We have provided Scout24 Schweiz not only with financial resources, but also with entrepreneurial capital by offering strategic and operational support and access to our global network. Scout24 Schweiz adds to our strong track record of successful investments in the European media, digital and technology sectors, including BMG, Fotolia, ProSiebenSat.1, Trainline, GetYourGuide and Arago. We have no doubt that Scout24 Schweiz will now build on this position of strength by taking the next step in its development, achieving even greater success over the long term.”
Markus Hongler, CEO of Swiss Mobiliar, said: “This partnership will allow us to be involved in a digital marketplace that is close to our core business and which we could not set up on our own. Scout24 Schweiz is an attractive, solid and profitable business with great growth potential. Together with Ringier we will strive to develop it into the leading Swiss ecosystem around cars and real estate.”
Olivier Rihs, CEO of Scout24 Schweiz, said: “Due to the valuable contribution of Ringier and KKR, as well as that of experts like Bob Bellack, we were able to significantly develop our business over the last two years. Our digital marketplaces have been bundled under one roof and belong to the best and most diversified network worldwide. We have a highly qualified team, cutting edge technology, innovative products, and accordingly strong growth. All of this leaves us well positioned for the future collaboration with Swiss Mobiliar.”
Financial details of the transaction will not be disclosed.
Ringier AG, Corporate Communications
The media release is available for download on:
www.ringier.ch => Media => Press Release
Ringier is a diversified media enterprise operating in 15 countries and employing some 6,500 people. Established in 1833, Ringier today operates media brands in the print, TV, radio, online and mobile arenas. The company also runs successful publishing, entertainment and internet businesses. Now in operation for more than 180 years, Ringier is noted for its pioneering spirit and individuality and is committed to independence, freedom of expression and diversity of information. Ringier is a family-owned company whose headquarters are in Zurich.
Swiss Mobiliar Group – Every third household in Switzerland is insured by Swiss Mobiliar. Active in all lines of insurance, Swiss Mobiliar has an annual premium volume of CHF 3.5 billion. About 160 agencies and offices spread all over the country, among them 79 largely independent general agencies with their own claims service, guarantee proximity to approximately 1.7 million customers. Swiss Mobiliar Insurance Company Ltd. is domiciled in Berne, Swiss Mobiliar Life Insurance Company Ltd. in Nyon. Swiss Mobiliar Group also includes Swiss Mobiliar Asset Management Ltd., Protekta Legal Protection Insurance Ltd., Protekta Risk-Consulting Ltd., Mobi24 Call-Service-Center Ltd. and XpertCenter Ltd., all domiciled in Berne, as well as Trianon SA, domiciled in Renens.
Swiss Mobiliar has more than 4,400 employees in its home markets of Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein and 325 trainees. It is Switzerland’s oldest private insurance company and has operated on a mutual basis since its founding in 1826.
KKR is a leading global investment firm that manages investments across multiple asset classes including private equity, energy, infrastructure, real estate, credit and hedge funds. KKR aims to generate attractive investment returns by following a patient and disciplined investment approach, employing world‐class people, and driving growth and value creation at the asset level. KKR invests its own capital alongside its partners' capital and brings opportunities to others through its capital markets business. References to KKR's investments may include the activities of its sponsored funds. For additional information about KKR & Co. L.P. (NYSE:KKR), please visit KKR's website at www.kkr.com and on Twitter @KKR_Co.