Deutsche Telekom to sell 70% in Scout24 to Hellman & Friedman for $2.02 bn

German mobile operator Deutsche Telekom yesterday agreed to sell 70 per cent stake in its classified advertising unit Scout24 Holding GmbH to private equity firm Hellman & Friedman, for about €1.5 billion ($2.02 billion) in cash.

Deutsche Telekom will retain a 30-per cent stake in Scout24, and said The partial sale of Scout24 is a cornerstone transaction for the online investment strategy pursued by Deutsche Telekom over the past decade, as it  would benefit from a meaningful participation in the future value creation of Scout24,

Private equity investor Hellman & Friedman is one of the most successful investors in digital media.

The transaction, which values Scout24 at €2 billion, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014.

Scout24 is one of Europe's leading groups of companies for online market places.

It operates real estate platform ImmoScout24, car dealer AutoScout24, social network FriendScout24, tour website TravelScout24, FinanceScout2, and JobScout24.

It operates in 22 countries and has 13 million monthly users.

Bonn-based Deutsche Telekom had been seeking to offload a majority stake in Scout24 in order to use the proceeds to create shareholder value and fund expansion of  its high-speed mobile networks.

The auction attracted EQT Partners, Silver Lake Management and Axel Springer AG, Europe's biggest newspaper publisher, according to some media reports.

Timotheus Höttges, CFO and CEO designate of Deutsche Telekom added, ''This exceptional outcome is the result of a lengthy, complex and highly competitive process that started in 2012. We chose this 70:30 partnership to allow us to deliver this outstanding result to our shareholders, while gaining the right partner for the future. We will retain a meaningful equity stake with substantial appreciation opportunity.''

Patrick Healy, deputy CEO of Hellman & Friedman said, "Over the past years, Scout24 has become one of the most respected online platforms in Europe. We see tremendous growth potential for the company, and look forward to continuing the Scout24 growth story over the years to come.''

Dr. Martin Enderle, CEO of the Scout24 Group, said, ''We have created a leading online company on the European market and we look forward to writing the next chapter in our story with Hellman & Friedman,'' said Dr. Martin Enderle, CEO of the Scout24 Group.