BY Richard Summerfield
Private equity firms Hellman & Friedman and Blackstone have agreed to acquire German digital marketplace company Scout24 in deal worth $6.4bn, including debt.
The deal, which will be the largest ever PE buyout of a German company, is subject to a minimum acceptance threshold of 50 percent plus one share, as well as customary closing conditions and merger control review. The transaction is being made through holding company Pulver Bidco, jointly controlled by funds advised by Hellman & Friedman and affiliates of Blackstone, and is expected to close in late May.
Scout24 accepted a revised €46 a share offer from the two US private equity firms after rejecting a €43.50 per share offer in January. The offer represents a 27.4 percent premium to the unaffected share price of €36.1 on 13 December 2018 and a 24.4 percent premium to the unaffected three month volume weighted average share price of €37. The offer values Munich-based Scout24 at almost 18 times 2019 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA).
“We believe this is an attractive offer with a substantial premium, high transaction certainty and a strategic value-add for the company,” said Hans-Holger Albrecht, chairman of Scout24.
“Hellman & Friedman and Blackstone are known to Scout24 as trusted and long-term partners given their prior ownership and familiarity with the company,” said Tobias Hartmann, chief executive of Scout24. “The terms of the offer represent an attractive opportunity for a highly strategic partnership that recognises the quality of the Scout24 platform, its employees, customers and partners. I am delighted about our joint long-term vision and ambition to turn Scout24 into a leading European digital player.”
Scout24 was previously owned by Hellman & Friedman, which acquired a controlling stake from Deutsche Telekom in 2013 for €1.5bn before listing the business in 2015, valuing it at €3.2bn. KKR sold a 50 percent stake in the business to private insurance group Swiss Mobiliar in 2016.
Hellman & Friedman and Blackstone are believed to have defeated rival PE firms to secure Scout24, including EQT Partners, Silver Lake and KKR & Co.