Media: Axel Springer in Exclusive Negotiations to Sell a Majority Stake in Groupe La Centrale to Providence Equity Partners

Focus of Axel Springer’s Classifieds portfolio on StepStone Group and AVIV Group is progressing / Axel Springer would remain minority shareholder and together with Providence Equity Partners plans to further develop Groupe La Centrale / Providence has a long and successful history of investing in European technology and media businesses

 

Axel Springer today announced that it has entered into exclusive negotiations for the sale of a majority stake in Groupe La Centrale, a leading provider of car classifieds in France, to Providence Equity Partners L.L.C., a premier private equity firm that specializes in the media, communications, education, software and services industries. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

The transaction will enable Axel Springer to focus even more on its growth and investment strategy in the jobs and real estate sectors within its digital classifieds offerings. The conclusion of a binding sale agreement would take place after completion of the information and consultation procedure of the works council of the companies involved, pursuant to French law. In addition, the completion of the transaction would require clearance by the requisite antitrust authorities, which the companies expect to receive in the first quarter of 2021.

Groupe La Centrale is a leading provider of car classifieds in France. The company is comprised of four digital brands — La Centrale, Promoneuve, Caradisiac and MaVoitureCash — with strong public brand awareness and organic reach. Providence would support the continued development of the Company’s best-in-class, multi-dimensional digital platform and would seek opportunities to expand capabilities that would enhance customer satisfaction through investment in value-add services.

Stephanie Caspar, President National News Media & Marketplaces at Axel Springer:

“Groupe La Centrale has established an excellent position in the French market since Axel Springer’s entry, thanks to François Couffy and his excellent team. Together with Providence Equity Partners, we seek to build on this position and continue to develop the company further to increase its value in the long term. At the same time, this transaction is in line with our growth and investment strategy in the Classifieds Media segment, where we want to focus on the two strong pillars of jobs and real estate.”

Karim Tabet, Senior Managing Director at Providence, said:

“We believe Groupe La Centrale is an outstanding business underpinned by best-in-class technology, which positions it well for continued leadership and innovation in French auto classifieds market. Our investment is driven by our conviction that Groupe La Centrale’s well-known brands and capabilities present a significant opportunity for organic growth and service expansion.”

Robert Sudo, Managing Director at Providence, added:

“Customers are demanding more products, services and optionality from classifieds providers. Leveraging Providence’s resources and experience and Groupe La Centrale’s world-class digital platform, we believe there is opportunity to add value to both dealers and drivers. Axel Springer’s continued investment is testament to the Company’s growth potential and we are looking forward to working together alongside Francois Couffy and his team.”

About Providence Equity Partners

Providence is a premier global private equity firm with more than $44 billion in aggregate capital commitments. Providence pioneered a sector-focused approach to private equity investing with the vision that a dedicated team of industry experts could build exceptional companies of enduring value. Since the firm’s inception in 1989, Providence has invested in more than 170 companies and is a leading equity investment firm focused on the media, communications, education, software and services industries. Providence has a long history of successfully investing in the automotive technology sector. Providence is headquartered in Providence, RI, and also has offices in New York and London. For more information, please visit www.provequity.com

Further Information: https://www.axelspringer.com

Image © Axel Springer

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